Trafficker blames dad in drugs appeal
A CONVICTED drug trafficker is calling for a reduced sentence, claiming his involvement was because of his "dysfunctional" relationship with his marijuana kingpin father.
Kristen Gardner, 38, was jailed for five years in November 2014 for his role in a multi-million dollar family-run drug operation at Inglewood on the southern Darling Downs in Queensland.
Police seized 3.59 tonnes of harvested marijuana and 22,000 plants on the 2225ha property when they raided it in 2008, worth about $70 million. They found eight fields of the drug - all but one had been harvested.
Gardner appealed the decision on Wednesday claiming the "dysfunctional" relationship he had with his father influenced how much he was involved.
But the Crown prosecutor said Gardner was a major participant in the operation and the sentencing judge had already considered all the submissions Gardner was relying on.
Gardner's lawyer Simone Bain said he had already spent a significant period of time jailed in New South Wales before he was extradited to Queensland - which had not been fully taken into account in his sentencing.
In the original court proceedings his father, Michael Bennett Gardner Snr, was described as a controlling man who was growing the crops to fund an anti-abortion media campaign.
The Court of Appeal heard Gardner had visited the Inglewood farm on numerous occasions - living there at times - and teaching other children to weed and care for the growing drugs. At times he helped fence paddocks and install a warning system.
Ms Bain also said Gardner had a significant chance of rehabilitation which should be taken into consideration.
The court will release a decision at a future date.