Saturday, 11 February 2012

Man was not a criminal but was still punished for growing his medication

Although I am pleased that this man was not sent to prison immediately it does put him in the unenviable position of having to choose between pain or prescribed drugs that often have unpleasant and risk side-effects and will cost the NHS, or risk jail by growing more cannabis.

I think the judge was correct in saying Andrew Walters was no a "criminal" - after all, he had no victims and put nobody at risk - so I have to ask why he was in court in the first place: the answer is bad law that needs to be changed.
Cannabis grown to treat bad back
Oxford Mail, February 11 2012

A MAN walked free from court despite owning a cannabis factory that had produced almost £60,000 of the drug and was capable of yielding 7kg a year.
Andrew Walters was spared jail because a judge decided he was “not, by any standard definition, a criminal”.
The 50-year-old defendant grew cannabis at his home in West End, Witney, before it was raided on April 21 last year.
Police found 135 plants, £2,630 in cash and hundreds of grams of skunk.
Walters admitted cultivating a Class B drug, an offence he has previously committed.
He was given a suspended sentence at Oxford Crown Court on Friday because he used cannabis to self-medicate for a chronic bad back and, although he could have sold on any excess, he had not yet done so, Judge Patrick Eccles ruled.
The judge said: “The fact is, given the medical history, despite the quantity and despite the fact he has been told not to do it before, it seems it’s not in the public interest for him to serve an immediate sentence of imprisonment.”
He told Walters: “You’re not by any standard definition a criminal, but the fact is you are somebody who had decided because of your own difficulties you were entitled to break the law on a significant scale by cultivating cannabis to provide medication for your own condition.”

Judge Eccles questioned the actions of a custody sergeant at St Aldate’s police station who wrote to the court suggesting a caution would have been the best disposal of Walters.
He said: “It’s against the law, no matter how understanding or merciful the custody sergeant might be, but I pay respect to a police officer who has understanding of the difficulties you may face.”

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