Foster dad gave girl cannabis

A 62-year-old who smoked cannabis with his 14-year-old CYF foster daughter has narrowly avoided a prison sentence because of his poor health.

Claude Clifton Lowe was sentenced at the High Court in Auckland today to 12 months supervision for supplying cannabis to a minor.

He was found guilty of the charge at a trial in June, where he was also found not guilty of five counts of rape and one of threatening to kill.

Those charges also related to two teenage girls he and his wife fostered.

The 14-year-old girl Lowe supplied the cannabis to lived with him and his wife Diane from March to June 2006.

The girl said at trial that Lowe began supplying her with cannabis soon after she moved in with the CYF caregivers.

She said she smoked cannabis with Lowe "quite a lot" through a pipe or in a joint.

Justice Judith Potter told Lowe that the supervision sentence was "very lenient" and if Lowe's health had not been too poor to send him to prison she would have imposed a short jail term.

Lawyer David Hoskin told the court Lowe had nearly died from heart problems after his trial and spent two weeks in North Shore Hospital recovering.

The 62-year-old is due to undergo triple heart bypass surgery soon and would not cope with prison conditions, a pre-sentence report said.

The report also said Lowe was still in denial about his offending and showed no remorse.

Justice Potter ordered Lowe to undertake any rehabilitative courses or counselling recommended by his parole officer during the course of his supervision.

Lowe would have been an ideal candidate for home detention but that was not possible because his home was too far away from the nearest probation centre, Justice Potter said.

Home detention was further ruled out as an option because a member of Lowe's family has been bailed to his house on charges relating to sexual abuse of a young person.

At the trial, the two teenage girls accused Lowe of raping them four times, including once when one of the girls was in the shower.

Crown prosecutor Nick Webby told the jury Lowe would offer the complainants cigarettes if they would let him touch, or have sex, with them.

Lowe denied all offending and was found not guilty on all charges except supplying cannabis to a minor.