March 12, 2013 - 1:32 PM
By Julie Whittet
A man caught for housing a large grow-op in the basement suite of a Peachland rental property will serve a one year at-home jail sentence.
Judge Brad Chapman of the Kelowna Provincial Court sentenced Charles Vernon Bowlen today to six months of house arrest, followed by a six month curfew, for pleading guilty to the production of a controlled substance.
The grow operation was not tied to organized crime or intended for large-scale distribution. Both crown counsel and defence lawyer Kelly Christiansen recommended that Bowlen serve a conditional sentence, given that he has no prior criminal record and does not present a threat to the community. Chapman granted the sentence, but emphasized that “a grow-op is still a grow-op” and is illegal now matter how large, or how many plants.
“Grow-ops are serious offences that come with serious sentences,” Chapman said.
Bowlen was charged in January, 2012, when the Peachland fire department discovered the grow-op while investigating a house fire that had broken out on the Bullet Avenue property. The RCMP obtained a warrant to search the property and found over 200 marijuana plants and 17 grow lights in the basement suite where Bowlen and his partner at the time had been living.
Bowlen, who moved to Kelowna in 2002 and runs his own Landscaping and Irrigation company, said he started the grow-op as a less risky way to obtain marijuana, for himself and his friends. The house fire that initially alerted the police was found to be unrelated to the grow operation, caused by a nearby vehicle.
The sentence will restrict Bowlen to a 24/7 house arrest, a 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew, and will prohibit him from consuming and possessing any alcohol, drugs. Any breach of the sentence conditions would land Bowlen in prison for one year.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Julie Whittet at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (250) 718-0428.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013