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Cannabis was for Hindu god, not for selling - court told

By The Citizen  |  Posted: October 22, 2013

Katarzyna Dryden-Chouen and her husband Clive Dryden-Chouen

CANNABIS being grown in a Littledean home, turned drugs factory, was going to be burnt in a pit as part of a spiritual healing ritual to the Hindu god Shiva, a court heard.

Katarzyna Dryden-Chouen said she never intended to sell the thousands of pounds worth of the drugs found and didn’t realise it was illegal to grow it.

Gloucester Crown Court heard when police busted her Old Vic home in Church Street in her lounge was a shrine to the Hindu god of Shiva, who has a close association with hemp.

Prosecutor Paul Grumbar said diaries written by Katarzyna, 46, found in her meditation room, detailed her cultivation about crops, watering and feeding.

He told the jury: “You may notice as you go through the diaries, the growth narratives are interspersed with what appear to be references to Hindu deity Shiva and personal thoughts.

“She said she was educated as a homeopathy, practicing Ayurveda, an ancient healing system in India.

“She said she grew it because she was a Brahma and once it had dried out it would be burnt in a small pit.”

He told the court one entry in the diaries stated: “We give thanks to Shiva. Last crop was 2kg 29oz, this crop 4kg – Yeah!”

Mr Grumbar added: “At today’s market price that would be worth £24,000 in ounce deals or in £10 deals £40,000.”

Katarzyna is alleged to be the ring leader of the drugs’ den, but her racing driver husband Clive, 59, and his son Ashley Chouings, 32, of Avon Street in Glastonbury join her in the dock.

Along with possessing and selling drugs the family stand accused of money laundering nearly £300,000.

Mr Grumbar told the jury police raided the home on July 6, last year.

He said: “They found what the prosecution would describe as a cannabis factory and some cash, not quite £13,000.

“When they went through everything they had collected they found some diaries written by Katarzyna, who we say is the principal offender.

“It was tremendously detailed, going back to 2003 and it described growing cannabis from that time.

“The police then inquired into the financial position of the defendants and they found Clive had no bank accounts and Katarzyna had one into which vast amounts of unaccounted and unexplained amounts appear.”

Mr Grumbar said every room of the house had cannabis growing in different stages and a total of 1.3 kilograms of flowering head was found.

The dairies, which Katarzyna admits writing, provided a running commentary of the growth, according to the prosecutor.

The court heard just one diary; covering from 2003 to November 2006, spoke of nine crops and harvests.

Other entries stated “harvest full moon” and “almost finished – Glastonbury,” while some implicated her husband and step-son’s part in running the factory.

Mr Grumbar said these diaries demonstrated years of growing and it was the pro

The married couple have admitted the production of cannabis between January 26, 2009 and August 1, 2012, but say the yield was for their own personal use. But Mr Grumbar argued just one of those crops a year would have been sufficient to keep the family smoking for a year.

The prosecutor said they both admitted the £12, 890 in cash belonged to them, but gave differing explanations of how he was gained. He alleged it was the proceeds of drug dealing.

A further 1,844 blue pills were found by officers in the search, which turned out to be diazepam, which she said was again for her person use.

Katarzyna denied possession of cannabis with intent to supply between November 23, 2003 and January 28, 2004 and possession of diazepam with intent to supply on July 6, 2012.

Katarzyna and Clive have also both pleaded not guilty to possession of cannabis, with intent to supply between January 29, 2004 and January 25, 2009; money laundering £277,559 between June 1, 06 and August 1, 2012 and possession of £12,890 of cash in criminal property on July 6, 2012.

All three faces a further charge, which they deny, of possession of cannabis, with intent to supply between January 26, 2009 and August 1, 2012.

Chouings also denies money laundering £17,980 between July 30, 2006 and July 25, 2012.

The trial continues.

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