Pubdate: Tue, 26 Sep 2006
Source: Port Hope Evening Guide (CN ON)
Copyright: 2006 Port Hope Evening Guide
Author: Maria Karampelas


A 21-year-old Port Hope resident was ordered to raise $700 and donate 
it to a drug awareness program through the Northumberland OPP 
following a guilty plea to a charge of production of marijuana at 
Port Hope's Ontario Court of Justice Sept. 15.

Mathew Simpson, of Hewson Street, pleaded guilty with the assistance 
of defence attorney Brad Halls. Federal prosecutor Marc Bebee said a 
Kawartha Combined Forces Drug Unit investigator obtained a warrant to 
search a Walton Street apartment. The investigating officer saw a 
female tenant outside the building June 20, identified himself and 
told her he knew there was a grow operation in the apartment. He 
asked her to go inside and talk about it, but she refused.

After the tenant was shown the search warrant, she let the officers 
into her apartment. Court heard the young woman originally told 
police she was 18 years old when she was only 17.

Officers smelled marijuana and found 11 plants that stood about three 
feet tall in a hydroponic grow operation with a light and a timing 
system when they entered the apartment. Police also seized a 
heavy-duty fan, light bulbs and a High Times magazine. A few illicit 
pills were found.

When Mr. Simpson walked in during the search, he said he was the 
young woman's boyfriend and was responsible for the operation.

The federal prosecutor suggested a $1,000 fine and probation. Defence 
proposed a joint submission but asked for a lower fine.

Mr. Justice Robert Graydon thought about the submission for a moment 
and asked the officers of the court if they knew of any charities 
looking for funds in Northumberland County. Ontario Provincial Police 
Court Officer Jim Hulsman stood up and told Justice Graydon about 
DARE, aimed at the Grade 6 level; Northumberland OPP visit schools to 
educate about Drug Abuse, Resistance and Education.

Justice Graydon then ordered a charitable donation instead of a fine 
for Mr. Simpson, noting the importance of educating others about 
drugs and the ramifications of convictions, including difficulties in 
getting across the border after a conviction.

The judge suspended the passing of sentence and placed Mr. Simpson on 
six months of probation with the usual condition he keep the peace. 
Mr. Simpson was ordered to report to a probation officer until the 
donation was paid.
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