25 July 2021

Tradie could lose Higgins home after providing house for sophisticated cannabis operation

| Albert McKnight
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Edmund Scott Krizaic and his lawyer, James Maher

Edmund Scott Krizaic (left) leaves the ACT Courts with his lawyer, James Maher, on Thursday. Photo: Albert McKnight

A tradesman was told he will not go to jail despite allowing his friend to use part of his Canberra home to grow 32 hydroponic cannabis plants.

However, on Thursday (22 July), the ACT Supreme Court heard Edmund Scott Krizaic may lose his $1.1 million house in Higgins as it may be liable for forfeiture.

Chief Justice Helen Murrell said photos provided to the ACT Supreme Court showed the plants grown at his home were “obviously quite flourishing”.

She said police searched his house on 10 July 2020, discovering that while only one person was still staying there, Krizaic had lived there for some time, linking him to the address with a recent rates notice in his name, as well as 40th birthday cards addressed to him. His milestone birthday was only about six weeks before the raid.

Cannabis plants

Chief Justice Helen Murrell said photos provided to the ACT Supreme Court showed the plants were “obviously quite flourishing”. Photo: ACT Policing.

The house was split into three parts and police discovered the third section had been converted into a space to grow 32 hydroponic cannabis plants.

In this section, they also found multiple items used to grow cannabis, including seedling propagation tubs and a calendar tracking the cultivating of such plants, as well as another birthday card addressed to Krizaic.

READ ALSO Police uncover cannabis grow house in Higgins

Justice Murrell said he had met an old acquaintance at a party and agreed to let his house be used to grow cannabis, believing the cultivator of the plants would sell them and he would receive some of the profits.

She said he had gone on to describe his decision as “stupid”.

Justice Murrell said there was no evidence he was actively involved in the cultivation of the plants, but he was an important facilitator who was fully aware of what was occurring.

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Krizaic’s lawyer, James Maher of Kamy Saeedi Law, said it was his own property, and it had been restrained, so it may be liable to forfeiture.

He said his client had “less than a primary role” in the operation. While Krizaic had lived at the house in a separate area to where the plants were found, he had moved out by the time police raided the residence.

Mr Maher said his client did have full knowledge the plants were there, took full responsibility for his actions and was embarrassed and remorseful.

He said Krizaic was not driven by a need to make money, suggesting he may have joined the operation to help out an old friend and may have also been manipulated into doing so.

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Justice Murrell said the prosecution’s submission that jail was not the only available sentence was “very generous”, given the size and number of the plants, as well as the fact it was a sophisticated operation.

She sentenced him to six months’ jail, fully suspended for a 12-month good behaviour order.

Krizaic, now 41, had pleaded guilty to a charge of cultivating a trafficable quantity of cannabis.

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