Readers have taken pity on the man, calling the law an ass.
Readers have taken pity on the man, calling the law an ass. Ebony Battersby

Support for old man who grew marijuana for dying wife

A DARLING Downs magistrate's show of leniency for an elderly man who grew marijuana to ease his dying wife's pain has been supported by The Chronicle's readers.

The man was charged with manufacturing and possessing the drug and faced a possible stiff sentence and heavy fine.

But on hearing the man's submission that he grew it to ease the pain of his life partner - who passed away the day police arrived at his house - magistrate Bevan Manthey reached out.

Before announcing his sentence Mr Manthey told the court that he had "never done this before" and downgraded the penalty handed down to 73-year-old Michael Ernest Hallows.

Defence lawyer Bonnie O'Brien had told the court her client's wife had been suffering from terminal cancer and had been taking marijuana for pain relief.

"The cannabis was grown to help his wife ease her pain," she said.


Heartbreaking story of a local man growing marijuana to ease the pain felt by his terminally ill wife, who died the day...

Posted by The Chronicle on Wednesday, 12 August 2015


Mr Manthey said the sentence downgrade also took into account Hallows' early guilty plea and his complete lack of criminal history.

"I've never done this before but each case must be dealt with on a case-by-case basis," he said.

"I could've hit you with a big fine ... but I will place you on a bond."

The charges came when police were called to the man's Stanthorpe property on July 12 and discovered the seized quantity of marijuana.

Mr Manthey placed Hallows on a 12-month behaviour bond with a fine of $1000. No conviction was recorded.

The majority of readers applauded the magistrate's compassion, saying they would do the same for a loved one.


Annika Delaney: Whilst breaking the law is unacceptable. I'm glad that this judge showed some compassion for this man. He did it to help his terminally ill wife. I would do the same for a loved one. They need to legalise it for medicinal purposes it's been proven to help. The government is forcing people to break the law just to help themselves or loved ones. Put a tax on it if you have to.

Ben Finnan: Laws exist to serve and protect people, not incarcerate them for compassion. If he showed it was not used to harm others but help his wife why should he be punished? The law is not serving this man and his wife, it's reprimanding honourable behaviour. The fact that the magistrate's decision to be lenient was only based on the notion of her death coinciding with their home being raided is actually the most disappointing part of it all. Cancer treatment is a huge expense, to the most common killer, and with so many people using this treatment successfully it should be introduced for medical use. What a courageous man.

Amanda Fay McKenzie: This is why it needs to be legalised now! Or at least amnesty granted to those using it for medical purposes!

Gary Dahlberg: One day we will come out of the Stone Age.

Micheal Barnes: I see both sides of the story! I see they can't legalize because growers will use as an excuse! I also know I would do anything for my parents, wife and children! If he really was doing it for terminally ill wife I am glad judge showed compassion! If not it is another step down a dark road!

Tracey Turnbull: I absolutely hate any form of drugs or even cigarettes. However, after watching my father die from cancer...Yes I absolutely would have given him anything I could have got my hands on to help ease his pain. Then maybe he would have known that we were there right up to his last breath instead of him being in a haze of "prescribed" drugs.

Darren Fraser: Shouldn't have to grow your own the government needs to recognise the medicinal properties of cannabis and make it available to use.

Mai Belle Spencer: No. He broke the law.

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