Cannabis grower had dog fighting implement

A MAILORS Flat man who pleaded guilty to growing 24 cannabis plants and possessing dog fighting implements has been fined $4650.

Francis Byrne, 48, of Warrnambool-Caramut Road, appeared in the Warrnambool Magistrates Court this week.

He pleaded guilty to possessing and cultivating cannabis, possessing a prohibited weapon (a samurai sword), failing to properly store ammunition, possessing a dog fighting implement and an act of cruelty involving a pit bull terrier by not providing veterinarian care.

Two charges of possessing a dog with the intent to cause the animal to fight were withdrawn by the police prosecutor.

Police executed a search warrant at Byrne’s home at 7.40am on March 4 last year.

They found 24 cannabis plants, 900 grams of cannabis, a bamboo-handled samurai sword, live and loose shotgun cartridges and in his ute three knives and live .22 ammunition.

RSPCA inspectors found a dog mill and one dog with a painful jaw abscess.

Police alleged the cannabis was not for personal use but there was no evidence provided that it was for commercial gain.

Defence counsel Tony Robinson said Byrne would have contested dog fighting charges and there was no allegations of cannabis trafficking.

He said his client was a keen hunter but had the dog mill to exercise his dogs because he had bad knees.

Victorian chief magistrate Peter Lauritsen said fines were appropriate for the serious charges Byrne faced.

He imposed a $3000 fine for cultivating and possessing cannabis and a $750 fine for the act of cruelty in not providing vet care to the dog.

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