Two church directors smuggled a powerful hallucinogenic drug which was used as ceremonial drink at psychedelic services, a court heard.
Adrian Freedman, 49, and Jane Liddell, 48, are said to have imported N,N-Dimethyltryptamine, or DMT, between January and November 2010.
Freedman is a director of the Eternal Heart Centre in Totnes, South Devon, while Yorkshire-based Liddell is a director of the Church of The United Kingdom of Light.
The psychedelic drug DMT, thought to have come from South America, is classified a class A drug under UK law, and is drunk in a tea by members of the two churches.
Liddell and Freedman appeared in the dock at Southwark Crown Court for a brief plea and case management hearing. They are each charged individually with one count of fraudulent evasion of a prohibition on the importation of goods contrary to the Customs and Excise Management Act.
They are also jointly charged with a count of conspiracy to contravene section 170 of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979.
Liddell and Freedman, a renowned Japanese flautist, entered not guilty pleas to the charges and were ordered to stand trial on October 19, 2012.
Prosecutor Neil Flewitt QC said: "The purpose of count one is to cover Jane Liddell's activities within her own church, count two covers Adrian Freeman's activities within his own church and count three their joint activity in relation to an event in 2010."
DMT is a hallucinogenic drug, likened to LSD and magic mushrooms. A number of indigenous traditions and religions use drinks or food that contain DMT, which has led to some people considering the drug to be "spiritual" and "safe" rather than seeing it as a chemical hallucinogen. Under UK law the maximum penalty for possession is seven years in jail while suppliers face imprisonment for life.
Freedman, of Huxham's Cross, Dartington, Totnes, pleaded not guilty to being knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of a prohibition on the importation of goods contrary to the Customs and Excise Management Act between January 1 and November 18, 2010.
Liddell, of Lee Road, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, also pleaded not guilty to the being knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of a prohibition on the importation of goods contrary to the Customs and Excise Management Act between January 1 and September 1, 2010.
Both defendants pleaded not guilty to a charge of conspiracy to contravene section 170 of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979 between January 1 and September 1, 2010. They were remanded on bail ahead of their next appearance at the same court next year.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
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