A man accused of tending a large illegal marijuana crop in Maple Ridge was acquitted of trafficking charges earlier this month in Port Coquitlam Provincial Court.
Judge Thomas Woods found Crown had failed to prove that Ian Kenneth Jones lived at 21150 – 123rd Avenue when police raided the property and seized 2,000 marijuana clone plants from it on 12 Aug. 2010.
He found Jones was not guilty of producing marijuana and possessing marijuana for the purpose of trafficking.
In a written judgement released this week, Judge Woods noted that police seized a stack of unopened mail addressed to Jones from the house, but that didn’t prove Jones lived there.
“The presence of such unopened mail suggests something other than the continuous presence of its owner at the residence and could be viewed as evidence of either a former association with the house or of only widely spaced, periodic attendances,” said Woods.
The judge also noted that police only saw Jones’ car parked across the street from the grow-op once during the two weeks they spent watching the house.
There is no direct, hands-on evidence of “production” by Jones of the marijuana clone crop, said Woods.
A second person – Shawn Nelson Cronin – was charged along with Jones. Cronin was the registered owner of the property at the time of the bust.
He was arrested after leaving the house in his pickup truck with a load of clone plants.
Crown characterized Cronin as the growop’s “operating mind,” while Jones was thought to be more of a caretaker.
The charges against Cronin were stayed because it took to long for a trial.