This is a shameful act of ‘justice’…
Kaikohe mum hit by jail term
A leading figure in Kaikohe’s arts and business communities has been jailed for two years after being found guilty of possession of cannabis for supply.
Kelly van Gaalen was sentenced in the Kaikohe District Court on Thursday following a jury trial last month. Friends and family in the public gallery, including her three children, wept and called out as the distraught 38-year-old was led away.
Van Gaalen was a member of the Kaikohe-Hokianga Community Board as well as the chair of the Kaikohe Community Arts Council and promotions manager for the Kaikohe Business Association. She has resigned from her positions. A community board by-election will be held in October.
Judge John McDonald told the court that van Gaalen’s husband had been the victim of a violent home invasion by three armed men on July 14 last year. Mr van Gaalen, who was home alone, managed to escape and raise the alarm.
However, when police arrived they discovered a bucket of dried cannabis and more in a snaplock bag.
In total it weighed 684g.
Van Gaalen had told the court it was for personal use and to give away to about 20 close friends. She had two plants, one of which had grown exceptionally well. She said she smoked cannabis daily and had started when she was 14.
Judge McDonald said there was no evidence of commercial dealing, such as text messages on her phone, but Parliament had set the upper limit for personal use at 28g. Van Gaalen had 24 times that and knew it was against the law.
“It is not for this court to comment whether that is a just law or not,” he said.
…when the result of our cannabis law is to lock a mother of 3, with an amazing community reputation, up for 2 years, that law is broken and unjust.
America – the home of the insane war on drugs – is now becoming more liberal than the pettiness of NZ.
When legal booze and tobacco are killing thousands every year, locking up a mum of 3 kids who is a pillar of her community is a terrible miscarriage of justice.
Unfortunately NZ has the political maturity of a can of coke and a media too focused on celebrity twitter battles than real issues.