A 75-year-old Australian woman who grew cannabis plants to treat her mentally ill son has been handed a suspended jail term of 10 months rather than be locked up.

Miriam Down was charged in 2015 with possessing and cultivating cannabis with the intent to supply after she was found with 19 plants in the garden of her Perth home, as well as 1.4 kilograms of dried cannabis inside, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Down, a nurse, told police she was using the cannabis to treat her adult son George, who has bipolar disorder and affective schizoid disorder. She said it dramatically improved his previously violent behaviour and allowed her to feel safe.

Her 53-year-old tenant, Judith Robinson, was also charged for assisting her to grow the plants and was given a 10-month intensive supervision order for her involvement.

District Court Judge Vicki Stewart said there was no commercial gain involved and described her crime as “a misguided attempt” to assist her son.

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