Updated| Mellieha man denies cultivating cannabis in bedroom

33-year-old Matthew Mark Anthony McDonnell was charged with a string of offences relating to cannabis cultivation, after police raided his residence in November 2013.

A court has been told how police officers carrying out a search discovered a “cannabis growing chamber” in the bedroom of a Mellieha man.

33-year-old Matthew Mark Anthony McDonnell was summoned before Magistrate Natasha Galea Sciberras and charged with a string of offences relating to cannabis cultivation, in connection with a police raid at his residence, carried out in November 2013.

Magistrate Galea Scierras heard Inspector Dennis Theuma, prosecuting, allege that the English-born man had modified his bedroom to make it more suitable for the cultivation of the illegal plants, describing it as a “cannabis-growing chamber.” Four plants, over a metre in height,were discovered.

McDonnell pleaded not guilty to importing cannabis grass, cultivating cannabis plants, possession of cannabis plants and cannabis resin. No request for bail was required as the accused had not been arraigned under arrest, but had been charged by summons.

Lawyers Franco Debono, Angie Muscat and Marion Camilleri defended McDonnell.

In comments to the MaltaToday, Debono noted that as four cannabis plants had been recovered from McDonnell's home, regardless of them being "solely for himself," McDonnell still faced the possibility of jail time, despite the recent legal amendments indicating a shift towards increased tolerance of so-called "soft drugs."

"The criterion does not make sense," said the lawyer. "It should be whether the drugs found were for exclusive personal use, but now the sole criterion is the amount."