Cannabis grower jailed for fatally stabbing associate

A cannabis grower has been jailed for more than seven years for stabbing an associate over a money dispute and leaving him to bleed to death.

Thang Minh Ho, 55, argued he was acting self defence when he stabbed Cuong Van Le in the thigh on the morning of April 28, 2021.

But a Victorian Supreme Court jury in December found him guilty of manslaughter after deliberating for five hours.

In sentencing Ho on Friday, Justice Stephen Kaye said he accepted Ho did not go to the Epping factory in Melbourne's north with the intention of killing Mr Le.

The 55-year-old instead wanted to confront the owners of the cannabis operation over claims he had not been paid correctly.

Ho banged on the factory's roller door and Mr Le answered carrying a knife he used to prune the cannabis plants.

An altercation followed where Ho grabbed the knife and stabbed Mr Le through his left thigh, severing one of his arteries.

Ho left the scene and two other associates brought a bleeding Mr Le to Sunshine Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Once Ho found out that Mr Le had died, he contacted police to say he was involved but the knife had struck the victim by accident.

He also made full admissions about his low-level worker role in the cannabis operation, which began in August 2020.

Justice Kaye accepted Ho would have felt threatened when Mr Le answered the door holding a knife, but said there was no reason for violence.

"Once you gained possession of the knife, there was no need to stab him to defend yourself," the justice said.

He accepted Ho also stabbed Mr Le in his thigh, a part of the body which most people would not realise could result in fatal injuries.

In sentencing, Justice Kaye noted Ho had migrated to Australia from Vietnam in 2018 and had a limited knowledge of English.

That language barrier as well as his health issues had made more difficult his remand period of close to three years, the justice said.

He also noted Ho would be deported once his sentence was completed and he would be made to return to Vietnam where he had likely lost contact with many people.

"I am satisfied that deportation will be an additional factor that will make jail more onerous," Justice Kaye said.

Ho was jailed for seven years and four months but will be eligible for parole after five years.

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