Cannabis ‘gardener’ punched boss when he didn’t pay

A cannabis "gardener" assaulted a man who had enlisted him to help grow the plants when he refused to pay for his labour.

Warren Benjamin, 21, admitted going to David Howarth's home with one other male and punching him on August 24, 2018.

Benjamin, of Upper Frederick Street, Baltic Triangle, appeared at Liverpool Crown Court after a "scuffle" broke out.

Judge David Aubrey, QC, summarising events, said: "He punched the complainant causing his nose to bleed.

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"He never used a weapon, although at one point a knife was taken from the kitchen area and brandished."

Addressing Sarah Holt, defending, Judge Aubrey said: "The money, the debt – this is all about drugs."

Speaking about Benjamin's confrontation with Howarth, Ms Holt said: "He owed a sum of £500 for work he'd done on his behalf involving cannabis – gardening to water plants and so forth.

"He has smoked cannabis but hasn't done so for a little time."

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Neil Bisarya, prosecuting, confirmed that Benjamin had "gone to the house to remonstrate about money owed to that extent with one other male".

Benjamin pleaded guilty to affray on August 18 this year.

The court heard Benjamin has a previous conviction in relation to drugs offences and one for burglary of a dwelling, which postdated this offence and for which he had received a suspended sentence.

Sentencing Benjamin Judge Aubrey noted the "good work" he's involved in.

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The judge said: "You're a peer mentor at The Florrie, a place I'm very familiar with and the good charity work it does in that area to try and keep youngsters like you away from knives, away from drugs."

He told Benjamin he has "so much to offer youths" who can "learn from your errors and mistakes".

Judge Aubrey said: "They're not going to learn from errors and mistakes if, rather than being at The Florrie, you were at Altcourse or Walton.

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"You've got so much to offer people, you've got so much to offer yourself."

The judge told Benjamin to continue doing good work.

He said: "Don't throw it all away by knives, don't throw it all away by drugs, don't throw it all away by gardening."

Judge Aubrey handed Benjamin a 12-month sentence suspended for 18 months.