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Registered: 07/26/04
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Cannabis grower's sentence doubled [AU]
    #4521099 - 08/11/05 04:38 AM (12 years, 10 months ago)

Cannabis grower's sentence doubled
August 11, 2005 - theadvertiser.news.com.au

A MAN who grew cannabis worth millions of dollars on a property called Hippy Valley in central-western New South Wales has had his jail sentence more than doubled.

Blaz Skorin, known also as Bill, was sentenced in March to two years and two months in jail for the cultivation of almost 7000 cannabis plants on a property he co-owned near Forbes.

Skorin, 31, had pleaded guilty in the District Court to growing plantations, estimated to be worth millions of dollars, from June 2002 and March 2003.

Today, following an appeal by the prosecutors, his jail term was increased to four and a half years by a panel of three judges in the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal.

His previous non-parole period of a year was almost trebled to two years and nine months.

In increasing Skorin's sentence, Justice Bruce James said the original jail term was "not reasonably proportionate to the nature and circumstances of the offence".

He was arrested in March 2003 after a search warrant uncovered two separate cannabis plantations of mature plants at Hippy Valley.

Skorin had been a director of the company that owned the property.

The court was told during the trial that Skorin had at first denied any knowledge of the cannabis crop.

The plants were watered by an irrigation system sourced from a nearby property, Emu Plains, that belonged to Skorin's uncle, Giuseppe Mammone.

Three workers who stayed at Hippy Valley during the harvest season were supplied with food from Skorin Delicatessen, owned by the drug growers' parents.

Skorin had also supplied the workers with sleeping bags, and provided equipment including a vacuum-packing machine.

Skorin will now be eligible for parole on December 26, 2007.

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