The father of a young girl who uses medicinal cannabis to treat her severe form of epilepsy has vowed to continue lobbying for law reform, after being found guilty of charges of possession and cultivation.
Michael Lambert was surrounded by his family, including his five-year old daughter Katelyn, when the magistrate handed down his decision in Gosford Local Court in Australia.
Katelyn suffers a debilitating form of epilepsy known as Dravet Syndrome but her doctors have seen a remarkable improvement in her condition since she started taking imported cannabis oil in 2014.
Mr Lambert admitted to the charges but argued he had no choice but to help treat his daughter, who had already suffered irreparable brain damage because of regular, severe seizures.
He said he began cultivating the drug as a back-up out of fear the supply could be cut off at any time.
"I was just a normal father trying to do the best by my daughter ... I just did what I had to do to save my daughter's life and the court has found that I'm a criminal," he said.
In handing down his lengthy judgement, Magistrate Bruce Williams acknowledged medical evidence from Katelyn's doctors that her health significantly improved after taking the oil but maintained the court "couldn't set a moral policy."
He told the court there was no doubt science was "in a state of flux" on medicinal cannabis and research was ongoing but no-one could "circumvent the law."
The case comes just weeks after new scientific evidence, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed that medicinal cannabis helps children with severe epilepsy.