UKP 113 SHOCK FOR CANNABIS CAFE OWNER

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

  1. Alfa

    Alfa Productive Insomniac Staff Member Administrator

    Reputation Points:
    14,178
    Messages:
    38,480
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2003
    117 y/o from The Netherlands
    UKP 113 SHOCK FOR CANNABIS CAFE OWNER

    Jailed cannabis cafe owner Christopher Baldwin could face a UKP113,000 bill.

    He has already served six weeks in prison for his involvement in the
    Amsterdam-style Quantum Leaf cafe in Worthing.

    But new laws mean he could be forced to pay back any money he made from the
    business.

    Police say tens of thousands of pounds were made in the venture.

    However, Baldwin, 53, who campaigns for the legalisation of cannabis, said
    the Quantum Leaf, in Rowlands Road, Worthing, was run as a political
    statement and left him in debt.

    He will appear at Chichester Crown Court on July 15, when a judge will
    decide how much, if anything, the campaigner should be fined.

    Baldwin lives with his carer, Trevor Scott, in a two-bedroom council
    bungalow in Carnegie Close, Worthing.

    He said: "The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) says I owe about UKP130,000. I
    wish we had it.

    "The figure is pure conjecture. They probably watched the cafe when it was
    open and counted how many customers went in.

    "But the shop was not busy for the first five months until it was busted.
    Then it really took off because of the publicity.

    "Not everyone who came bought two or three bags of weed. Some would buy a
    ready-rolled joint for UKP2 or a hash cake for UKP1.50."

    Police recovered hundreds of pounds in cash and large amounts of marijuana
    during raids at the cafe in 2002 and 2003.

    Chief Inspector Russ Whitfield said the Quantum Leaf and another cafe in
    Brougham Road, East Worthing, were earning thousands of pounds every week
    and were devoid of any political stance.

    But Baldwin said: "The money the police took off me was owed to the people
    who gave us the cannabis.

    "I did not have the money to buy the cannabis. I found people who believed
    in what I was doing and were prepared to supply cannabis up front so I could
    pay later.

    "In the last bust the police found UKP8,000 but that money was to pay people
    and should never have gone to the cafe.

    "It left me in a lot of debt. I have lots of overdue credit card payments
    and they are foreclosing on me.

    "I also have council tax bills left over from the cafes."

    Baldwin was jailed at Chichester Crown Court on January 9 after pleading
    guilty to allowing cannabis to be used and having cannabis with intent to
    supply.

    CPS spokesman Paul Hayward said the application to fine Baldwin was made
    under the Proceeds of Crime Act, introduced last year, which empowers courts
    to seize the assets of someone who has been convicted of a crime.
     
  2. Alfa

    Alfa Productive Insomniac Staff Member Administrator

    Reputation Points:
    14,178
    Messages:
    38,480
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2003
    117 y/o from The Netherlands
    CANNABIS CAFE OWNER SPARED BILL OF UKP 113,000

    A jailed cannabis cafe owner walked from court without having to pay a
    UKP 100,000 bill. Christopher Baldwin, 53, was accused of making
    thousands of pounds from his illegal venture.

    He had already served six weeks in prison for his involvement in the
    Amsterdam-style Quantum Leaf cafe in Worthing.

    But new laws meant he was faced with paying back any money he made
    from the business. Original estimates were that this could be UKP
    113,000. However, Chichester Crown Court heard it was unclear after
    examining the cafe's accounts what profit had been made. Francis
    Lloyd, prosecuting, said the figure could have been about UKP 78,222
    but there were too many gaps in the cafe's accounts. Baldwin, who
    campaigns for the legalisation of cannabis, had told an earlier
    hearing that the Quantum Leaf, in Rowlands Road, was run as a
    political statement and had left him in debt.

    The court agreed a confiscation order of UKP 8,508 should be made, a
    sum which had already been seized by police during raids at the cafe.
    Baldwin, who suffers from spastic paraplegia and needs crutches to
    walk, did not have to pay any more.

    Outside court, Baldwin said: "I'm not a big tough guy or a big bad
    criminal. "Some take attending court in their stride but it has been
    pretty stressful. "I'm very pleased with the outcome. Justice has been
    done because I did not make any money from the cafe - it was done for
    political reasons." Quantum Leaf was in the back room of a smoking
    accessories shop called Bongchuffa.

    Police raided it on November 27, 2002, weeks after Baldwin publicly
    announced he was opening the cafe.

    Officers estimated UKP 2,000-worth of cannabis and more than UKP 4,000
    in cash was seized in the raid.

    The figures swelled as Worthing police mounted an intensive six-month
    operation to stop blatant cannabis dealing.

    Baldwin was eventually jailed at Chichester Crown Court on January 9
    after pleading guilty to allowing cannabis to be used at a premises
    and having cannabis with intent to supply.

    Dozens of cannabis campaigners had attended each hearing, staging
    noisy and colourful protests.

    Baldwin said: "I have no regrets about what I did but I do apologise
    for any inconvenience to Worthing.

    "People are allowed to drink alcohol, which can cause a lot of social
    harm. "If you look at the Dutch coffee shop system, police get called
    to bars, not coffee shops.

    "We showed people that it could w
    ork here too. The only time police
    went to the Quantum Leaf was to raid it, not to sort out any
    problems." Chief Inspector Russ Whitfield, Worthing district police
    commander, said the cafe was not a political statement but organised
    criminal activity making thousands of pounds every week.

    Quantum Leaf sold 13 types of marijuana, hash cakes, ready-rolled
    joints, sandwiches and soft drinks.

    Baldwin has said he uses cannabis to counter the leg spasms he suffers
    as a result of his disability.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2009
    1. 4/5,
      fascinating and recent historical news
      Mar 18, 2013