UNANSWERED QUESTIONS: published letter

Source: The Orcadian, UK

Pub Date: Thursday, 7 August 2003

Pub LTE: Unanswered Questions

Author: Alun Buffry, Legalise Cannabis Alliance

Web: http://www.orcadian.co.uk

Ref: "My final protest failed" http://www.ccguide.org/scot100703.php


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 Ronaldsay!

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

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