Vilma, Henry, and Joseph Wachter all appeared on charges of cultivating cannabis, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment.
On August 17 last year, Cook Islands police executed a search warrant on the Wachter family home in Arorangi. They discovered 65 cannabis plants, 50 of which were growing on the balcony of the second floor. The police also found 28 grams of dried cannabis, 134 cannabis seeds, and a number of utensils and products used for the cultivation of the prohibited substance. Police said the plants ranged in height from 1cm to 73cm and were aged from six weeks to four months, indicating an ongoing operation.
Justice Potter described the case as “rather unique”, with three members of the same family cultivating cannabis on separate floors of the same house.
In sentencing, Justice Potter determined that the cultivation was for personal, not commercial use. She deemed imprisonment was unnecessary.
Vilma Wachter, 54, was fined $2000.00 and sentenced to serve nine months’ community service. Joseph Wachter received a fine of $900.00 and was sentenced to serve to six months’ community service, while Henry Wachter was fined $800.00 and sentenced to serve six months’ community service.
It was the first time that any of the three had appeared before the court.