RASTAFARIAN’S CANNABIS USE APPEAL FAILS

Discussion in 'Cannabis' started by Alfa, Jul 5, 2004.

  1. Alfa

    Alfa Productive Insomniac Staff Member Administrator

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    RASTAFARIAN'S CANNABIS USE APPEAL FAILS

    A Hutt Valley Rastafarian has failed to legally justify his cannabis use on
    religious grounds.

    Mathew Thomas Anderson is serving 31/2 years' jail for growing cannabis,
    having the drug for supply and taking part in a criminal group. Police had
    found more than 20kg of cannabis drying at a Mongrel Mob "safe house", at
    Naenae, in November 2002.

    Anderson, 33, appealed against conviction on grounds that included that the
    drug was for his own use.

    He said his Rastafarian beliefs permitted him to use cannabis, as part of
    his religious rights protected under the Bill of Rights Act and the Human
    Rights Act.

    But the Court of Appeal found there was nothing in the law that gave him a
    defence to criminal charges on those grounds.

    "He is entitled to hold these beliefs, but he is obliged to abide by the
    law," it said.

    Another man caught in the same raid, Terence Michael Toman, 35, also lost
    his appeals against conviction for growing cannabis and his five-year jail
    sentence.

    The court agreed the trial judge had not repeated Toman's defence on the
    charge of growing cannabis as she summed up the case to the jury, but said
    the "sparse" treatment of the defence could not have misled the jury.

    His sentence covered growing cannabis and having it for supply, taking part
    in an organised crime group and having a loaded pistol.

    The Appeal Court judges said the sentence was appropriate.