Cannabis Campaigners' Guide News Database result:
Law Before Justice
Letters, The Argus, Worthing
Tuesday 13 Jan 2004
I recently attended the sentencing of Chris Baldwin at Chichester Crown Court
("Pro-cannabis trader jailed", The Argus, January 10).
I was confused that Mr Baldwin was being sent to prison after what amounted to
a glowing summation of his character.
The Judge described him as "honest", "sincere", with a "genuine belief in his
medical need for cannabis after 30 years of suffering ... and honest commitment
to try to persuade the Government to change the law".
He said the cannabis cafes managed by Mr Baldwin were run with strict rules
(age restrictions, no alcohol or hard drugs), caused no nuisance to locals and
were politically-driven rather money-orientated.
Judge Sessions also referred to the other two co-defendants (Winston Matthews
and Mark Benson) as sincere with a genuine belief in the medicinal value of
cannabis for their pain. They were given suspended sentences and curfew
However, Mr Baldwin was already on a suspended sentence for previous victimless
cannabis offences and it seemed the judge felt his hands were tied by the law
and he was forced to bring that sentence into effect, although reducing it.
That just about sums up the case - the interests of the law are apparently
above the interests of the public and of justice.
How can it be just to send to prison an honest and sincere crippled man who not
only has no victims to his so-called crimes, but has a massive amount of
support from those in pain who he helped gain some relief beyond that provided
by conventional pharmaceutical drugs?
There is something wrong not only with the law against cannabis but with the
legal system in general when law comes before justice.
-Alun Buffry, Norwich
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