Specialists in Serious Fraud and Complex Criminal Defence
MPR criminal defence solicitors secure acquittal in large-scale cannabis factory case
Our client was the landlord of a large residential detached premises in a leafy upmarket suburb of London where the average house price in that street is in excess of £1 million.
Police raided the premises after neighbours complained of strange goings on at the residence which had been let to tenants by our client. Despite the standard checks any prudent landlord would take, our client was unaware that his premises were being used as a large factory where cannabis plants were being cultivated. The investigation discovered that over £25000.00 worth of hydroponics equipment had been purchased from a nearby garden centre and delivered to the address. In normal circumstances, hydroponics are used by gardeners to grow fruit and vegetables but recently the equipment is being used to cultivate cannabis plants.
Our client’s mistake is that he did not regularly inspect the rented premises. That could have caused problems with the tenants as unless there is a specific clause within a tenancy agreement which allows regular (monthly) inspection, the tenant is entitled to quiet and peaceful enjoyment of the property and the Landlord would not have the right to inspect the property during the term of the tenancy.
Our client was charged with allowing his premises to be used for the cultivation of cannabis and conspiracy to cultivate cannabis. The actual perpetrators had disappeared leaving the property in a vandalised state and the Landlord was unable to pursue them.
Our Complex Crime Team was instructed to represent the Landlord, who if convicted, would face a custodial sentence. Having analysed the case, we quickly concluded that the Crown’s case was weak and highlighted the deficiencies in the prosecution case. There were aspects of civil law and Property Law which assisted the Landlord’s assertion of not being able nor having the right to inspect the property regularly.
Despite our representations to the CPS that there was insufficient evidence to convict our client, the case was pursued and our client had to face trial. Within minutes the jury returned a unanimous Not Guilty verdict at Isleworth Crown Court.
At MPR Solicitors, we will strive to achieve the best result in your case. We give our clients a quality criminal defence service. Anyone who is a landlord could very easily be faced with exactly the same set of events. It is shocking that you could unwittingly face criminal charges if you allow your premises to be used for the cultivation of cannabis or production of any illegal substance.