14 February 2023

Former Eurobodalla mayor Liz Innes charged with cultivating cannabis worth up to $258,000

| Genevieve Jacobs
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Eurobodalla Shire Council Mayor Liz Innes.

Eurobodalla Shire Council Mayor Liz Innes. Image: Supplied.

Former Eurobodalla mayor and Batemans Bay businesswoman Liz Innes has appeared in court charged with cultivating what local police described as an “obvious” large cannabis crop at her home at Runnyford.

Ms Innes, who resigned as mayor in 2021, appeared at Moruya Local Court on Friday (10 February), entering guilty pleas to cultivating cannabis and possessing cannabis.

Police told the court that they had been searching for an unrelated wanted person in the Runnyford vicinity on 5 February when they came across the crop at a property later identified as belonging to Ms Innes.

They seized 78 plants, some up to 30cm in height and planted in a variety of places around the home and garden. Police said the plants appeared to be in good health and showed evidence of pruning and cultivation to enhance growth.

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“They were planted in pots, garden beds and a tree stump and obviously well cared for, with several having the branches spread with string and rocks to improve growth,” police stated in court.

After establishing that the premises belonged to Ms Innes, police say the defendant was initially annoyed and at one point informed officers that she had been mayor of the Eurobodalla Shire.

Ms Innes then admitted that the plants were hers and made comment on their healthy growth. Police statements allege that Ms Innes told them she intended to harvest them in coming months for use by her family.

The court heard the plants were then taken to the Batemans Bay police station where their worth was assessed at between $129,000 and $258,400. Police contended that this was well above the amount of cannabis likely to be required for personal use.

Magistrate Doug Dick ordered a sentencing assessment report before adjourning Innes’ matter for sentencing to February 27 at Batemans Bay Local Court.

Ms Innes was mayor of Eurbodalla Shire between 2016 and 2021, after being first elected to Council in 2012.

After resigning, she indicated she would run for pre-selection as a Liberal candidate following Andrew Constance’s resignation from the state seat of Bega but did not follow through. Dr Michael Holland won the seat for Labor in the subsequent by-election.

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