£40,000 cannabis grown in Littledean home 'was for sacrifice to Hindu god Shiva'
CANNABIS being grown in a Littledean drugs factory was going to be burnt in a pit as part of a spiritual healing ritual, a court heard.
Katarzyna Dryden-Chouen said she never intended to sell the thousands of pounds worth of the drugs being grown at her home and didn't realise it was illegal to grow it.
Gloucester Crown Court heard that when police burst into her Old Vic home in Church Street, there was a shrine in her lounge to the Hindu God of Shiva, who has a close association with hemp.
Prosecutor Paul Grumbar said diaries written by Katarzyna, 46, found in her meditation room, detailed her cultivation about crops, watering and feeding.
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He told the jury: "You may notice as you go through the diaries, the growth narratives are interspersed with what appear to be references to Hindu deity Shiva and personal thoughts.
"She said she was educated as a homeopath, practicing Ayurveda, an ancient healing system in India.
"She said she grew it because she was a Brahma and once it had dried out it would be burnt in a small pit."
He told the court one entry in the diaries stated: "We give thanks to Shiva. Last crop was 2kg 29oz, this crop 4kg – Yeah!"
Mr Grumbar added: "At today's market price that would be worth £24,000 in ounce deals or in £10 deals £40,000."
Katarzyna is alleged to be the ring leader of the drugs' den, but her racing driver husband Clive, 59, and his son Ashley Chouings, 32, of Avon Street in Glastonbury, join her in the dock.
Along with possessing and selling drugs the family stand accused of laundering nearly £300,000.
Mr Grumbar told the jury police raided the home on July 6 last year when they found the factory along with a further £12,890 in cash.
He said every room of the house had cannabis growing in different stages and a total of 1.3 kilograms of flowering head was found.
The diaries, which Katarzyna admits writing, provided a running commentary of the growth, according to the prosecutor.
Entries also implicated her husband and step-son's part in running the factory, the court heard.
Mr Grumbar said these diaries demonstrated years of growing and it was the prosecution's case they had produced around four crops a year.
The married couple have admitted the production of cannabis between January 26, 2009 and August 1, 2012, but said the yield was for their own personal use.
The prosecutor said they both admitted the £12,890 in cash belonged to them, but gave differing explanations of how it was gained. He alleged it was the proceeds of drug dealing.
A further 1,844 blue pills were found by officers in the search, which turned out to be diazepam, which she said was again for her person use.
Katarzyna denied possession of cannabis with intent to supply between November 23, 2003 and January 28, 2004 and possession of diazepam with intent to supply on July 6, 2012.
Katarzyna and Clive Chouings have also both pleaded not guilty to possession of cannabis, with intent to supply between January 29, 2004 and January 25, 2009; money laundering £277,559 between June 1, 06 and August 1, 2012 and possession of £12,890 of cash in criminal property on July 6, 2012.
All three faces a further charge, which they deny, of possession of cannabis, with intent to supply between January 26, 2009 and August 1, 2012.
Chouings also denies money laundering £17,980 between July 30, 2006 and July 25, 2012.
The trial continues.