CANNABIS ADVOCATE CLAIMS POLICE WITCHHUNT

Discussion in 'Cannabis' started by Alfa, Feb 21, 2005.

  1. Alfa

    Alfa Productive Insomniac Staff Member Administrator

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    CANNABIS ADVOCATE CLAIMS POLICE WITCH HUNT


    A TRADER who openly sells drugs paraphernalia from his Hull market stall has accused police of conducting a witch hunt against him after attempts to seize thousands of pounds from him failed.


    Carl Wagner, an outspoken advocate for legalising cannabis, had faced confiscation proceedings for more than ukp48,000 after being given a conditional discharge last year for minor drugs offences.


    But when the case came to Hull Crown Court on Friday, it was dismissed by Judge Michael Mettyear, after hearing there was no evidence against him.


    Mr Wagner, who stood for Parliament in 2001, said the case had been a waste of taxpayers' money. "It was a real case of throwing as much mud as possible and hoping that some of it would stick."


    The father-of-six, who runs the Divine Herb stall in Hull Market, was given a conditional discharge in June for three offences, one of growing four cannabis plants found at his home in Hull, and two of possession of a small amount of cannabis herb and resin. He had earlier refused a caution. "Had I accepted a caution the Proceeds of Crime order would never have come about. I didn't accept a caution as I didn't accept I was a criminal and I was also unhappy about the way the bust was carried out.


    "The police told me they had been given information that I was selling cannabis and cocaine from my market stall, but they didn't examine my market stall or car."


    He added: "As far as the Proceeds of Crime Act, I believe the police have to have reasonable grounds to assume I lived a criminal lifestyle. They turned my house over for five hours and found no money other than ukp550 takings from my market stall. There was no evidence of holidays, travelling, no gold jewellery."


    Mr Wagner claimed police were increasingly resorting to forfeiture laws which allowed property to be seized even if its owner was never convicted of a crime. He feared proceedings could be used to target "innocent but perhaps deemed troublesome citizens."


    Humberside Police said the matter could have been resolved at an earlier date if Mr Wagner had provided details of his finances. A spokeswoman said: "Due to Mr Wagner being prosecuted under the drug trafficking act Humberside Police was required to prepare a report about his finances.


    "The court directed Mr Wagner to provide Humberside Police with information to assist in compiling the report. That information was only provided on the day of the court hearing.


    "Once officers looked at the information it was decided that there was no need to progress further with a report and the judge dismissed the case."