A desperate Cairns father who gave his toddler cannabis oil in the belief that it would treat her aggressive stomach cancer has been released on a good behaviour bond.
The 32-year-old man pleaded guilty in the Brisbane Supreme Court on Wednesday to supplying the drug to his two-and-a-half-year-old daughter by cooking it into her food in December 2014.
The court heard the father had been dosing the toddler for a few days when the child’s mother confronted him as to why the food had a funny smell and taste.
Prosecutor Glenn Cash said the man, who can’t be named for legal reasons, thought the drug would help cure his daughter after researching it on the internet and speaking to others about its benefits.
The man wanted to delay the child’s chemotherapy in order to give it to her, he said.
Mr Cash said the man had ordered the drug online from northern NSW and California and believed it was having a positive effect on his daughter when he was caught.
The court heard the drug had neither a harmful nor beneficial effect on the child, other than increasing her appetite and making her sleepy.
Justice Peter Flanagan said what the father did was “wrong and illegal” and he couldn’t have known what effect the cannabis oil would have on his daughter, what was in the oil or how it would react to her other medications.
However, he said that the man did hold a genuine belief that it would help her and he said he appreciated the desperation of a parent with a child suffering from a life-threatening cancer.
The court heard the father had lost his job of 12 years at a local school after he was charged because he could no longer hold a blue card.
A community service order would adversely affect his ability to see his daughter, who remains gravely ill, the court also heard.
Justice Flanagan sentenced the man to a two-year good behaviour bond and did not record a criminal conviction.
As he left court, the father was cheered by supporters of medicinal marijuana.
He told reporters he was “glad it was over” and was looking forward to seeing his daughter.