Monday, 13 February 2012

Unjust imprisonments

Dear Chloe Smith MP, Norwich North

I write with increasing concern after reading that the Courts have imposed prison sentences or suspended prison sentences on people that have chosen to grow their own cannabis for their own use to easing their pains and suffering, in their own homes.

Recently there have been several such cases, the one that is the worst of all in the UK was last week in Surrey when Winston Matthews was sent to prison for 16 months.  He had been given a suspended sentence on a previous but similar case.

There was no suggestion from anybody that the cannabis was other than for his own use and it did not involve anyone else as Mr Matthews lives alone.

He seems to have been completely honest at all times, not making any denials.  Many would think he actually went too far in that for he told the police and the court that he would not stop growing and using it.  Can honesty go too far?

Mr Matthews suffers from very bad back pains resulting from an accident he suffered some 30 years ago when hew as 16 years-old.  He has said that he has tried most medications offered to him by his doctors but finds herbal cannabis the most effective with the least unpleasant side-effects.

He has even been to The Netherlands and obtained a prescription for herbal cannabis, supplied there through pharmacies - but he is not allowed to bring it back to the UK - had he been resident in Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Czech Republic, where cannabis is available on prescription, he would have been able to bring it to the UK under protection of the Schengen Agreement; but the UK Government refuse to allow those resident in the UK to go and get it.

Not only is that unjust, but it appears to be an offence under Human Rights law, which does not allow the different treatment based upon Property, residence even in rented accommodation being property, which is exactly what the Government is doing.  Neither does it allow for a difference in treatment depending upon the property, being cannabis or, say, alcohol.

Furthermore, the raids on Mr Matthews (and others) house also seem to be in conflict of his Human Rights in UK Law, his Right to a Private Life and to practice his personal belief - that cannabis helps him.

Human Rights law is quite specific when it comes to the criteria demanded of authorities before interfering with those Rights: namely that such interference must be in the interests of Law AND to protect public health, public order, or the Rights of others.  The word "and" is all-important - law alone is not enough.

It cannot be said that Mr Matthews posed any risk to anyone else, public order or public health, by growing his plants in his own abode.

Therefore the police raids, the court cases and the sentences all appear to be unlawful or based upon unlawful activities of the police.

I would very much appreciate it if you could discuss this specific case with Mr Matthews' MP -  he lived in Horley, Surrey - and if you would take this matter up with the Home Office and Government - maybe ask a question in Parliament - WHY are they treating people in pain in this way - why does MR Matthews have to spend time in prison even though he has not harmed anybody.

This is certainly one of many cases where the Courts put the Law before Justice.

I would also like to know your personal stance on the imprisonment or suspended imprisonment of such people in such cases of growing cannabis in private for own use.

With thanks

Alun Buffry


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