Source: The Argus, UK

Pub Date: Tuesday 02 December 2003

Subj: Doorman cleared in drugs trial

Author: Huw Borland


Ref: Cannabis Cafes  


A doorman has been found not guilty of allowing people to smoke marijuana at a café.

Jurors at Chichester Crown Court yesterday took 20 minutes to clear Michael Allday, 37, of two charges related to cannabis use at Quantum Leaf in Worthing.

The court had heard how cannabis campaigner Chris Baldwin wanted to prove the benefits of a Dutch-style cannabis café in England and set up Quantum Leaf in the back room of his marijuana paraphernalia shop, Bongchuffa, in Rowlands Road.

Police raided the store on November 27, 2002.

Mr Allday, of Leconfield Road, Lancing, Baldwin, 52, of Carnegie Close, Worthing, Winston Matthews, 46, of Court Lodge Road, Horley and Mark Benson, 37, of Irene Avenue, Lancing, were charged with a number of drug-related offences.

Baldwin and Benson have admitted permitting cannabis to be smoked at a property and Matthews has admitted possessing cannabis with intent to supply.

Mr Allday said, being a doorman, he was nothing to do with running Bongchuffa and denied charges of allowing cannabis and cannabis resin to be smoked at the café.

Francis Lloyd, prosecuting, said the raid resulted in an estimated £2,000 worth of cannabis and £4,000 in cash being seized.

He said: "Mr Allday said to police he was employed for security and was nothing to do with the actual café.

"Clearly he had some role, when police asked him about the safe in Cafe trial doorman cleared the café he was able to open it.

"He was not interviewed by police on November 27 but on January 15, 2003.

"He said, 'I'm a security consultant. I was checking things out, making sure we did not get people you don't want in there - criminals, lunatics, drunks, drug addicts'."

Jeremy Wainwright, defending, said: "Being the muscle does not mean 'concerned in the management'. He says he was there to stand on the door and look the part. He did stand there and looked the part but he did not manage it."

After the hearing, Mr Allday said: "I have got faith in British justice."

Baldwin, Benson and Matthews will appear at Chichester Crown Court on January 9 for sentencing.

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