Dope grower told cops his farm a 'sovereign state'
A NORTHERN Rivers man who justified his substantial cannabis operation on the basis that he was a "Sovereign Person" whose land was "totally outside the territory of Australia" has been sentenced in Lismore District Court.
And not surprisingly, neither police nor the courts swallowed his unusual defence - with a Judge handing him a lengthy stint in jail.
When police turned up at a remote property north of Kyogle in April 2015, owner Arnfried Duden defiantly told them to get off his property.
Duden, 60, told officers that his Roseberry Creek farm was a sovereign state and they had no right to be there.
Upon searching the property, police uncovered a plantation of 133 cannabis plants in various stages of maturity, and a stash 108kg of cannabis secreted in eight barrels and on drying racks inside a shipping container.
They also found a small amount of MDMA in Duden's possession, to which he declared he was a self-taught homoeopath who had been given the drug to make homoeopathic medicines.
Continuing the search, police found $25,950 in cash in a bedroom, three unregistered rifles, an unregistered shotgun, a taser, handcuffs, and a large quantity of ammunition.
During a subsequent police interview, Duden continued his novel defence, saying: "My property and my land is not part of New South Wales ... It's totally outside the territory of Australia."
He also talked about being in receipt of a Commonwealth disability support pension and claimed he had asked Centrelink to cancel it because he was a "sovereign person", but they had refused.
"He claimed he had pledged to use the money to support the Human Rights Movement of the Aborigines," police facts state.
He later claimed he had saved the money over many years and was waiting "to dedicate it to some good purpose and spread the gospel or whatever".
He said while was not a member of any church, he believed that "being generous is a good thing".
Asked about the firearms, he said he didn't care about what the regulations were in NSW.
"I am not part of New South Wales therefore I do not comply (with) New South Wales regulations," he declared.
But as Duden discovered, it's one thing to declare independence, quite another to enforce it.
He was charged with cultivating a prohibited plant, supplying a large commercial quantity of cannabis, plus knowingly deal with the proceeds of crime and possessing unauthorised firearms.
On November 22, a smartly-dressed Duden - wearing a tailored grey suit and immaculately groomed moustache - was handed a five-year and 10-month jail sentence, with a non-parole period of three years.
He will be eligible for parole on October 10, 2020.