Home / European Community / Man caught growing 247 cannabis plants in tents, with automated watering and lights, escapes jail with ‘research’ defence

Man caught growing 247 cannabis plants in tents, with automated watering and lights, escapes jail with ‘research’ defence

A drug “researcher” whose suburban growing operation could have produced $109,000 of cannabis a year has, unusually, avoided a jail term.

Nari I-Yuan Chou, 32, claimed he was researching how to grow legal cannabis to get a job in the Australian industry, but now accepted what he did was “deeply illegal”.

The Fire Service went to Chou’s rented Stanmore Rd, Shirley house on October 1 because water was leaking from the home and running down the driveway.

Apparently, something had gone wrong with Chou’s sophisticated system supplying water and nutrients to the 247 cannabis plants found growing inside.

 Cannabis charge after leaking house lead firefighters to house
 Bail granted to Christchurch cannabisresearcher‘ with 247 plants

Police found the plants growing in four tents with automated lights and fans. They found bags of dried cannabis head.


Their intelligence section estimated the bar manager’s eight growing cycle operation could have yielded $109,000 a year.

But sentencing Christchurch District Court Judge Emma Smith accepted there was no sign it was a commercial set-up – there were no scales or lists of customers that are often found in commercial drug busts – and granted Chou, a father of two young children, a five-month community detention sentence in place of a jail term.


Judge Smith said Chou had wanted to develop skills as a cannabis grower, and to develop new strains of cannabis, to get work with the medical marijuana industry in Australia. 

The judge imposed the maximum 400 hours of community work, which she estimated would take Chou two years to complete.


Defence counsel Rupert Ward said Chou was “petrified” and “just wants to get back to a normal life and be a good dad”.

Ward said Chou accepted what he did was “completely misguided, completely illegal, and had brought very great difficulties upon him and his family and his reputation”.

Chou was a cannabis user, but not to the stage where there were addiction issues. He was an intelligent man, who was sometimes “hard to follow”.

“He acts at quite a cerebral level, and he has not thought practically about what he was getting himself involved in,” Ward said.

Judge Smith acknowledged a community-based sentence was unusual for a drug charge of this type.

She said she had to consider a prison term, but reduced the term for his previous good character, his remorse, the lack of commerciality and his immediate guilty plea to the charge of cultivating cannabis. Chou and his family were not living at the address.

Chou would serve his commmunity detention in Bishopdale, living with his family. 





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