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UK: Three walk free in cannabis chocolate case

Jon Land

Friday 26 Jan 2007

Three people who supplied thousands of chocolate bars laced with
cannabis to multiple sclerosis sufferers walked free from court today.

Mark Gibson, 42, his wife Lezley, 42, who has multiple sclerosis (MS),
and Marcus Davies, 36, were each given a nine-month jail term, suspended
for two years.

All three defendants argued that the drug eased the symptoms of MS and
believed they had a defence of medical necessity but this was rejected
by a jury last month.

Sentencing today at Carlisle Crown Court, Judge John Phillips said he
accepted their motives were "altruistic", that they had a genuine desire
to help people who were suffering and that no profit was made from the

Outside court, Mrs Gibson said she was "very disappointed" at the
judge's ruling.

She said: "I was devastated when we were found guilty and this decision
has broken me again.

"I still don't think I've done anything wrong. How can it be wrong to
try and help ill people? What kind of Government lets people suffer in
this way?

"The people that used to use our service are now forced to go to the
street dealers and buy contaminated cannabis."

The Gibsons added that they were planning to launch an appeal against
their conviction.

Cumbria's Chief Crown Prosecutor, Claire Lindley, said none of the
defendants was medically qualified and the manner in which the cannabis
was sent through the post meant they could not control who ultimately
consumed the cannabis-laced chocolate.

"In most instances the defendants did not know the medical circumstances
of the individuals who received the drugs," she said.

"The investigation showed this enterprise to be a commercial one, with
payment being received for the majority of transactions.

"The police sought advice from the Crown Prosecution Service before any
charge was brought against any of the defendants.

"The then Chief Crown Prosecutor, David Farmer, considered all the
evidence and concluded that there was sufficient evidence to proceed and
that the public interest required a prosecution in this case."




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