Three charged for indoor ganja farm freed
Three of four men charged with the cultivation of ganja inside an upscale Stony Hill home walked free from the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court on Tuesday following successful arguments by their lawyers to have the case dismissed.
The case made headlines nationally because of the novelty of the operation seen in overseas jurisdictions like the US state of California.
The parish judge upheld the arguments put forward by the defence attorneys that the prosecution had failed to prove that the men were in possession of the ganja.
Businessman Sean Blake, 39, was represented by Peter Champagnie, QC, and Richard Lynch, while Andrew Blake, 41, was represented by Tom Tavares-Finson, QC.
The other accused, Andrew Richards and Eka Mason, were both represented by Jacqueline Samuels-Brown, QC.
They have all been before the court since June 13, 2013 for possession of, dealing in, cultivating and using premises for storage of ganja.
They were also charged for abstracting electricity and trespassing on the works of the Jamaica Public Service Company.
Sean Blake, Andrew Blake, and Eka Mason were freed of the charges.
It is alleged that the property was rented by Sean Blake and occupied by Richards.
The case against Richards is expected to continue in February 2021.
The discovery of the ganja on June 13 followed a police raid at a two-storey, seven-bedroom house on Old Stony Hill Road.
Approximately 100 mature ganja plants were reportedly discovered being grown in conditions the investigators say are common in other countries, but relatively unknown in Jamaica.
The growers used high-voltage lamps and air-conditioning to imitate the ideal growing conditions for the plants, which were kept in containers indoors.
Investigators uncovered six such rooms on the premises, which at the time were owned by the Jamaica Baptist Union.
It was also unearthed that the men were paying rent of $130,000 per month at the home for more than a year.
At the time of the arrest, then Inspector of Police David White, who was in charge of the Stony Hill police in St Andrew North, was lauded for what was then considered to be a groundbreaking ganja bust.