Adelaide electrician convicted of diverting electricity to cannabis crops has canceled registration

Written by Javed Iqbal

An electrician who illegally diverted electricity from the grid to grow cannabis in his home in southern Adelaide will retain his operating license after a court overturned a decision to cancel it.

Ryan Curran, 35, of Seaford, pleaded guilty in 2017 to cultivating a commercial amount of cannabis and diverting electricity without authority.

He was fined and sentenced to two years and a month in prison.

In May 2020, he applied for a building contractor license, which required police checks.

After seeing Curran’s criminal history, the Consumer Commissioner canceled his electrician registration and contractor license in August 2021.

The Commissioner found that Curran was not a suitable and proper person to hold one, in part because he had failed to mark his insult when he renewed his registration.

Curran sought to overturn the Commissioner’s decision in the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (SACAT), arguing that the error was not intentional.

SACAT member Alex Reilly accepted in a decision released yesterday, accepting Curran’s evidence that his partner was responsible for his online registration renewal, and she had ticked the box to confirm that he had not been charged with criminal acts.

“In considering whether the offense of diversion of electricity has any particular significance in the assessment of suitability and soundness, it is important to recognize that the whole cultivation operation was illegal and completely outside the scope of the applicant’s business as an electrician,” he said.

“As the applicant’s lawyer has argued, the diversion of electricity is an essential part of the crime of cultivating cannabis, and it is very common for offenses such as the cultivation and diversion of electricity to be prosecuted together, and not just when the accused is an electrician.”

hundreds of cannabis planes sit in a room under big lights.
The electrician grew cannabis in his home in the south of Adelaide.(File: ACT Policing)

Just breaking rules at home is a mitigating factor

Professor Reilly said Curran had a good record as an electrician until the cancellation of his license and two complaints registered against him had been resolved without further action.

He disagreed with the Consumer Affairs Commissioner’s claim that it was “very worrying” that Curran was willing to allow unsafe electrical work in his own home.

“In my view, the fact that the breach of the conduct rules took place only in the applicant’s own home is a mitigating factor in the seriousness of that offense in relation to its impact on his permit,” he wrote.

“It would seem far worse for Mr Curran to endanger others outside his home.”

The court overturned the commissioner’s decision to cancel Curran’s electrical contractor license and his electrician’s registration.

It ruled that no conditions should be set for the registration or license, recognizing that there had been no official complaints about Curran’s work and he had been without his license for five and a half months.

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Javed Iqbal

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