Grenfell survivor sentenced after remains of cannabis oil factory found in flat
Eamon Zada had pleaded guilty to producing a controlled Class B drug.
A Grenfell Tower fire survivor has been given a 12-week suspended prison sentence after the remains of a cannabis oil factory were discovered in the building after the blaze.
Long-term cannabis user Eamon Zada, 35, was arrested after officers combing the burnt-out shell of the west London tower block found a store of cannabis cuttings, flammable butane gas canisters and an oven in his flat.
Zada, who is currently being housed at the Radisson Blu hotel in Portman Square, Marylebone, had produced enough cannabis oil to last one user about 140 days, London’s Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard.
Zada, who had pleaded guilty to producing a controlled Class B drug on or before July 4 last year, stood quietly in the dock as deputy chief magistrate Tan Ikram described this potential 140-days worth of supply as “not an insignificant quantity”.
He told Zada: “The process by which these drugs is produced as an oil requires butane gas to be stored in your flat. You had them there for a criminal purpose.”
The court heard that Zada was sentenced to five years in prison in 2009 for conspiracy to defraud.
His drug involvement started before the tower block fire but since the blaze he has worked to help the the Grenfell community.
The judge told Zada, who has mental health problems: “What has happened since (the Grenfell fire) does not make this offence any less serious but it does tell me about who you are today and where you are today.”
Grenfell Tower caught fire on June 14 last year, killing 71 people, including an unborn child, and leaving hundreds of others homeless.
The judge also ordered Zada to do 200 hours of unpaid community work, undergo 40 days rehabilitation requirement and pay £115 victim surcharge and £85 costs.
The court was told he would pay in full.
The case came to light when Zada’s two-bedroom flat in Grenfell Tower was searched after he told police that 4,500 euros (£4,022) had been stolen in a burglary, prosecutor Katie Bryan said.
She said that £1,000 in £50 notes was hidden in the bedroom ceiling, cannabis was found in the second room and in the kitchen freezer.
Herbal cannabis was found, along with mobile telephones, and books about the cultivation of cannabis were on the living room table.
Ms Bryan said “a large amount of” cannabis, described as trim, totalling 14 kilograms, was seized, along with growing equipment and gas canisters.
Ms Bryan said that flat sheets, scales, drugs cultivation gear, a check list and pricing of the equipment, and an oven to facilitate the production of cannabis oil, were among the seized items.
The kitchen was used for storage and the living room was used to make the oil, according to Ms Bryan.
Zada said the £1,000 was from his brother to pay for a holiday.
In a prepared statement, Zada told police he had been using cannabis since he was 12, but it no longer had the right effect and he was now using the oil as an alternative.
He said the found items were for his personal use.
Zada’s lawyer Robert Berg described him as having a “fragile history of mental health in recent years” and that his condition, which was “acute but manageable before has become more exacerbated by suffering from post traumatic stress disorder”.
Noting his supporters from the community in the public gallery, Mr Berg said: “Since the tragic events last June he has made a very positive contribution to the healing process that is taking place in west London.”