A 51-YEAR-OLD man who has committed 159 previous offences has been jailed for cultivating cannabis worth up to £76,800.
Andrew Ernest Louis and his 53-year-old accomplice Ian Monteith Manson grew the drugs in two locations in St Saviour – a wooded area in the grounds of St Saviour’s Hospital and in a derelict glasshouse in Rue du Tapon, the Royal Court heard yesterday.
Manson was given an 18-month prison sentence, suspended for two years.
Outlining the case, Advocate Carla Carvalho, prosecuting, said the States police were alerted to the operation by a staff member at the hospital, who had seen two men acting suspiciously within the grounds on 29 September 2021, and then left the area in a silver car.
Officers found a grow site in a nearby wooded area – with two cannabis plants standing seven-feet tall – and used a hidden camera to identify Manson and Louis visiting and tending to the plants.
Both were arrested on 4 October. While at Manson’s home officers discovered more cannabis.
The following day they found the other, larger cannabis-growing operation in the derelict greenhouse. The men pleaded guilty to the cultivation of the drug at both sites, the court heard.
The combined cannabis seizure was estimated to have a street value of between £45,000 and £76,800.
The court heard that Manson was considered to be at high risk of reconviction and Louis at very high risk.
Advocate Carvalho said: ‘Manson has 44 previous offences, five of them drugs related. Louis has an appalling record of 159 offences, 28 of them for drugs. They are not suitable for community service.’
She recommended an 18-month jail sentence for Manson and two years for Louis.
Advocate Chris Baglin, defending Manson, requested a suspended sentence for his client. He pointed out that Manson had serious health problems, including having an artificial valve fitted in his heart.
The lawyer also told the court that his client had been in the Army, serving in Northern Ireland at the height of the Troubles. ‘He served his country for three years,’ Advocate Baglin said.
He added: ‘While his record is unenviable, there is no commercial aspect to this. Homes were searched, devices were seized, and there was no evidence that these two middle-aged men were doing this for any other reason than for personal use.’
Advocate Nicholas Mière, defending Louis, said his client’s mother was seriously ill and a lengthy prison sentence would prevent him from spending time with her.
He also stressed that the drugs were for personal use and not for financial gain. The lawyer added: ‘I accept the fact that Mr Louis has a very poor record. He can do nothing to undo the past.
‘What is in his power is to make his future very, very different. The progress he has made while on remand is something he has resolved to continue.
‘He is determined to take responsibility for himself.’
The court imposed sentences of 18 months on both men, but the Bailiff, Sir Timothy Le Cocq, said they had decided to suspend Manson’s sentence. He will have to serve the sentence if he offends again during the two-year suspension period.
Sir Timothy was joined by Jurats Elizabeth Dulake and Karen Le Cornu.
After the sentencing, Sergeant Lynn Lang, of the States police’s drug squad, said: ‘Officers have been kept busy this year, and we will continue to work hard to keep illegal drugs out of the supply chain and bring those offenders before the courts.’