Pubdate: Tue, 04 Apr 2000
Date: 04/04/2000
Source: East Anglian Daily Times (UK)
Author: Don Barnard
Note: Headline supplied by Newshawk


I agree with Maria Clark (EADT 19/03/2000) that the court should not
be a political debating chamber, However, the laws regarding cannabis
are controversial, complex and ill understood by most.

Ms Clark is correct cannabis is illegal in this country and the
relative seriousness of the circumstances do not matter.

And asked: Did the jury have the right to find Mr Date Not

Mr Yates did accepted the charges were true but, his defence was one
of 'necessity or duress of circumstances:

In law a defence of necessity, or duress of circumstances, has three
elements: that there was 1) No alternative, in that all other
alternatives had been exhausted; in that the illegal act committed
must be  2) necessary to avoid some greater evil such as death or
serious injury; 3) proportionately; that the illegal act was
proportionate to the need to avoid the greater evil or harm.

Clearly the jury considered Mr Yates illegal act both reasonable and
proportionate and came to a common sense decision?

I imagine that in the case of someone else being tried in the future
for therepeutical use of cannabis the Judge could throw out the case
or, in the event of conviction, the defendant could appeal on the
grounds of this case setting a precedent!

Incidentally if there are any Judges, lawyers, Magistrates or the
Anti-Drug Industry reading this, I invite you to comment:

(a)    on my opinions above (b)    Whether the CPS Could/should appeal
against the decision of the court last week. (b)    Give me one reason
why we should prefer punishing cannabis users to helping them?

Don Barnard,
Braintree, Essex