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Pop star-linked man guilty on drug charges

AAP logoAAP 25/11/2016 Ed Jackson

The cousin of pop star Ricki-Lee Coulter's ex-husband has avoided prison after pleading guilty to producing a dangerous drug.

David Babbington, 43, was given a two-year prison sentence - wholly suspended for three years - in the Southport District Court on Friday.

He was also placed on probation for three years after pleading guilty to two counts of possessing tools used in the production of a dangerous drug.

The New Zealand-born builder, who is the cousin of Ms Coulter's former husband Jamie Babbington, used his connections to hire an electrician to install air-conditioning units at a residence and shed on a Gold Coast property in January 2014, the court heard.

Babbington's lawyers conceded their client knew the property was going to be used to grow cannabis for "commercial purposes".

He also then allowed the owners of the property to store tools for the cannabis operation at two storage sheds that were under Babbington's name.

Judge David Kent said the offences were "extremely serious" but just how long and how successful the cannabis operation had been was unknown.

"It was clear a significant crop was likely to be produced," Judge Kent said.

"You knew it was commercial and likely to be of a large scale."

Ms Coulter's stepfather John Sheerin, who owns the property where the alleged hydroponic setup was discovered, is set to face court next month on a number of drug charges.

Sheerin has pleaded not guilty to his charges.

Months after the November 2014 raid on the Advancetown property, police returned to scour the area in relation to the disappearance of Gold Coast woman Novy Chardon.

A Mt Nathan property owned by Babbington was excavated in March last year in relation to the disappearance of Ms Chardon - who was last seen in February 2012 - but nothing was discovered.

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