News

"What do you do with a man who is hopelessly addicted?"

FOR 36 years James Paul Bigbee has been addicted to cannabis.

Raised in a "cult", with an alcoholic father who was part of the early push to legalise marijuana in the United States, Bigbee, 47, was first introduced to the drug at nine by a drug pusher who would go on to abuse him.

By age 11 Bigbee was a regular user. Over the past 25 years Bigbee has been before Queensland courts 17 times for possessing or producing cannabis.

In July last year police raided his Redbank Plains property, where they found almost 30kg of leafy cannabis material, 8kg of smokeable cannabis, and enough frozen drug to make a year's worth of hash oil.

The police executed a search warrant on the 36.5ha property and searched two demountable buildings and a barn.

Police found boxes of cannabis plant material Bigbee had discarded, as well as drug equipment. One of the demountable buildings was a deconstructed growing and drying room with equipment from a large hydroponic set-up.

Across the property they found enough cannabis to last a heavy user up to 285 days, and enough frozen cannabis to make hash oil for a year. The court heard Bigbee had grown the plants for his own use, and planned to smoke it over the next year.

The Crown prosecutor said despite the amount of cannabis there was no evidence it was a commercial set-up.

Bigbee told police at the time he used the drug for "medicinal" purposes and believed he couldn't live without it. Bigbee repeatedly told police during the search his wife and children had no knowledge of his drug operation. Judge Greg Koppenol said Bigbee's personal history was a tragic.

"What do you do with a man who is hopelessly addicted?" he said.

He said according to medical reports his dependence could, in large part, be traced to his abuse as a child and early introduction to the drug.

He said it was an achievement for Bigbee to remain out of the courts for eight years considering his addiction to cannabis.

"If there had been commercial motivation the penalty would be significantly higher," he said.

He sentenced him to two years prison with immediate release on parole. Judge Koppenol said if Bigbee breached the regular drug tests he would face an immediate period of jail.

Topics:  ipswich magistrates court, parole




Radiology clinic evacuated after gas leak

Firefighters called to imaging clinic following smoke alarm

Explained: What are those two extra bright evening 'stars'?

Kingaroy astronomer James Barclay captured these images of Venus and Jupiter appearing low and bright in the sky this month.

The two stars you are seeing around sunset aren't stars at all.

Site helps teen expand hologram business

Little Tokyo community experience manager Sara Watling at the launch of Little Tokyo Two in Springfield.

VIDEO: Check out Ipswich's new businsess hub

Latest deals and offers

Ipswich people love heritage

'It's a great vote of confidence for a program that was launched in 1992 and has since provided thousands of property owners with heritage conservation'


This week's community billboard

Want to get involved in gardening? The Glebe Rd Uniting Church Garden Club meets first Saturday of each month.

Toastmaster, Tai Chi, Scouts, the Men's Shed and more

Willy Wonka star, Gene Wilder dead at 83

A still of Gene Wilder in the 1971 film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Social media has already lit up with tributes to the late actor.

Gladstone couple's spontaneous Gympie Muster wedding

Craig Oglesby and Brenda Strong celebrate their wedding at the Gympie Muster with punters in front of the Main Stage.

The Gympie Music Muster was the perfect place for a wedding.

Australian Survivor's Peter: I'm no quitter

Australian Survivor contestant Peter Fiegehen.

ILLNESS forces castaway's early exit from Samoa.

Diva's sister on soliciting charge

FILE - In this May 14, 2016 file photo, Mariah Carey attends the 27th Annual GLAAD Media Awards, in New York. Carey will appear on the Oct. 5 episode of the Fox series, \"Empire,\" the network confirmed Monday at a TV critics bi-annual press tour. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File)

Mariah Carey's sister has been arrested on charges of prostitution.

Tom Cruise private jets his gym kit around the world

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise charters private to take his gym kit around the world

Movie behind Depp and Heard split to be released

Soon you'll be able to see the movie that ended the marriage

Palm Lake Resort set to move in to Coast with 276 villas

Palm Lake Group has been given approval by Sunshine Coast Council to build a 276-villa over 50s resort and 120-bed aged care facility at the intersection of Caloundra Rd and Caloundra Mooloolaba Rd in Little Mountain.

New facility planned for Caloundra Rd

Warning for unit investors with price plummet prediction

The warning signs are flashing for one real estate sector in 2017 despite others performing the best they have in years and it's not going to be pretty.

One real estate sector looks set for a rocky 2017

REVEALED: Pat Rafter's $18m Coast house on the market

Check out the photos of the Coast's most expensive property for sale

The "correction we had to have" in Gladstone's rentals

UPWARD MARCH: The rental vacancy rate in Gladstone has improved for the first time in more than a year, providing a confidence boost in the market.

Vacancy rates improve with signs that things are getting betterF

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m