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Illegal hunter caught on camera found growing cannabis in garage

Illegal hunter caught on camera found growing cannabis in garage

Khodi-Ray Rayner was caught on camera hunting in private property in rural Marlborough. (File photo)

Brya Ingram/Stuff

Khodi-Ray Rayner was caught on camera hunting in private property in rural Marlborough. (File photo)

A hunter caught with his air rifle on private land went back to try to remove a camera.

Khodi-Ray John Rayner, 26, was on a quad bike towing a light trailer in the Hartley Hills, about 50 kilometres west of Blenheim, on the afternoon of July 10 last year.

He had a passenger on the quad bike and had an air rifle within reach, a police summary of facts said.

Rayner drove onto a private track that serviced several forestry blocks, past a sign saying unlawful hunting was prohibited.

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He noticed a security camera tied to a tree, and returned 30 minutes later to try to remove the camera, damaging a padlock but failing to remove it.

About a month later police executed a search warrant at Rayner’s home in Blenheim and seized the air rifle.

They found seven 1 metre cannabis plants in the garage, in pots under heat lamps, along with two smaller plants, 179 grams of cannabis in snaplock bags, a glass pipe and other small bags with some more cannabis material.

Khody-Ray Rayner appeared at the Blenheim District Court on Wednesday.

Ricky Wilson/Stuff

Khody-Ray Rayner appeared at the Blenheim District Court on Wednesday.

They also found two stolen chainsaws, one valued at $1295 and the other $2600.

Rayner told police he was only intending to trap possums which he didn’t consider hunting. The chainsaws were from a friend and he planned to fix them up and sell them, he said.

He pleaded guilty to cultivating cannabis, wilful damage, unlawful hunting, possession of cannabis, and two counts of receiving stolen property, and appeared for sentencing at the Blenheim District Court on Wednesday.

Rayner was also being sentenced on charges of breaching alert level 4 lockdown last August, and disorderly behaviour after he became belligerent and abusive towards court staff on a previous appearance and was arrested.

His lawyer Tim Spear said Rayner had brought to court what he believed was a mask exemption on his cellphone, but security said it was not a legitimate form of exemption.

His client had an “anti-authority streak” but otherwise lived a prosocial and productive life. A probation report overstated the negative effects of Rayner’s cannabis use, Spear said.

Judge Jo Rielly said Rayner was a dairy worker described by his supervisor as a very hard worker and indispensable to the team.

But she said she was really concerned that despite pleading guilty, he did not think his actions were criminal.

“I know a lot of people have a view about cannabis and think it needs to be legalised, but the reality is at the moment it is not legalised. You were growing a significant amount,” Judge Rielly said.

“A few years ago the start point for that amount was two years’ imprisonment.”

She sentenced Rayner to four months’ community detention, with a curfew from 9.30pm to 5.30am, with conditions to do drug and alcohol counselling as directed by probation. He was also ordered to pay $51 in reparation.

https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/127733641/illegal-hunter-caught-on-camera-found-growing-cannabis-in-garage