Pubdate: Sat, 09 Aug 2003
Source: Orcadian, The (UK)
Copyright: 2003 The Orcadian Limited
Author: Alun Buffry, Legalise Cannabis Alliance
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


Your report on the Biz Ivol case ("My final protest failed", 10 July) has
left myself and may people confused.

Biz, who suffers terribly from MS, was arrested two years ago for growing
and using cannabis and making it into chocolate.

Clearly she broke the law as it stands and was considered fit enough to
stand trial.

In June her trial was started and she was presumably considered fit enough
to attend court and give evidence herself in her defence.  the trial was
then halted for two weeks to give her time to recover.

What then happened is a cause for concern.  Despite her wish that the trial
be continued, her "defence agent" presented a doctor's report saying that
she was no longer fit to continue.

What puzzles me is why, then, after her unsuccessful attempt at taking her
own life with paracetamol, being rushed to hospital for life-saving
treatment, she was suddenly declared fit enough to be flown by air ambulance
to an Aberdeen hospital to be questioned for half an hour by a psychiatrist
who reported her sane.

Days later she was released from hospital to return to her cottage in South

The Orcadian reported that the Crown Office said the decision to drop the
charges was based "purely on the recent medical evidence and has in no way
been influenced by Mrs Ivol's ongoing campaign to have (medicinal) cannabis
legalised....  In every case the crown also has an ongoing duty to assess
whether the public interest remains best served by prosecution."

How exactly was it in the public interest to take an extremely ill person to
court on charges that involved no victims, one week, then drop the charges a
few weeks later, declaring her unfit, yet the doctors allowed her to be
transported to Aberdeen and back for questioning?

Serious questions need to be asked of all the authorities involved in this
case, including how much it cost the tax-payer (certainly tens of thousands
of pounds).

Why is it that Mr Harry Garland of the social work department is not able to
comment on specific cases?  Do they not deal with specific cases?  Or are
they only concerned with the paperwork and the wages?

Is Mrs Ivol now going to be left alone to ease her suffering using a plant
from her own garden?

If she is fit enough to be allowed home, will she now be raided again by
police drugs squad officers and taken through that terrible ordeal again?

Or will that be reserved for a fellow MS sufferer, an epileptic, someone
with spinal injury, a cancer chemotherapy patient, and AIDS victim, or
someone in intense pain who also claims relief from this remarkable plant?

Exactly who in the Crown Office gets to make these decisions whether or not
to prosecute.  Why, if the case was dropped due to such serious illness, was
she ever prosecuted in the first place - a prosecution which inevitably
itself led to the worsening of her condition from that little thing we all
suffer from but can be devastating for the ill:  stress. And why don't the
officials whose wages we pay know how much the proceedings cost?  Or are
they just hoping we will forget we ever asked?

This case is tantamount to a gross misuse of the law, which is meant to
protect, not prosecute the weak and innocent along with the rest of us! One
thing has surely been missing from this story: justice.

Alun Buffry Legalise Cannabis Alliance
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