Sorry it's been so long since I posted, I've been a very busy moggie.I Had a week away, did the Trafalgar Sqaure Cannabis Rally, a peace protest at the Labour Party Conference & speaking at a major drugs policy crisis conference. Oh, and I fell in love.... With the sport of Power-Kiting. If ever there was a toy for a cuddly middle-aged exhibitionist hippie, it's a stacked powerfoil! Anyway! This is the report on my Crown Court appearance yesterday for the cultivation, possesion & possesion with intent to supply of herbal cannabis. The full background including copies of legal documents, evidence photos etc. can be found at http://members.tripod.com/alanbmason/Pages/the_story_so_far.htm SO FAR SO GOOD? Well, 24 hours on, and I'm still not certain what happened. All I know is, I'm still here, still 'in the game', unbowed & unrepentant. The "script" for yesterday would have had me tried, sentenced and shipped out by tea-time. The Judge had only been "booked" for one day. I was supposed to cave in to expediency, forget this silly "human rights" nonsense, and throw myself on the mercy of the court. It took the Judge about an hour to ramble through his initial decision. I understand that early reports that went out said that he had thrown out the Human Rights Defence, but this is not quite accurate. He did reject the application to have the case thrown out. I heard that much myself. The difference in the judges' attitude from last time to this was palpable. Now that reporting restrictions have been lifted I can illuminate on this: In July he said "The mere existence of a high-level debate on the subject of cannabis decriminalisation means that the Crown will find it difficult to assert that the criminalisation of users is a necessity in a democratic society (HRA article 8 section 2). And furthermore, if there is any more talk of the licensing of cannabis, them the offences of intent to supply and supply could also fall under the protection of the Human Rights Act." Yesterday he ruled that the Runcimen Report, the Brixton Experiment & the HASC did not constitute debate. It is one of at least 5 separate points which my Barrister is currently in the process of lodging a high court appeal over. So then we took a break for a conference, which was where I was pressured by my barrister to change my pleas on the possession & cultivation charges to guilty, to make it easier for him to get a not guilty verdict from the jury on the intent to supply charge. But borrowing from the strength of the small band of dedicated supporters who sat so patiently in the public gallery, I was able to say "NO" again. I refused to compromise the principles I believe in, instructing my barrister to vigorously fight for a full 3-day Jury trial. When he realised I wasn't gonna budge, he told me of the 'diamond in the rough' in the judges' ruling. The rest of the day was a bit of a blur, really. I know we pissed them off a lot by not caving in. In the end, we got a date for a full jury trial on December 17th, and a strange invitation by the judge. He said he was interested to hear legal arguments on whether 'the court' was him or the jury. I didn't know what he was on about. My Barrister was very up-beat, but I had to get him to explain it to me three times during the course of the day. According to him, it was a "historic" ruling, the Judge went further than he had dared hope. I think you have to be a Barrister to appreciate it, though. Apparently, he ruled (for the first time) that the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 could be 'up-read' to be compatible with the Human Rights Act 1998 ONLY if the Crown could prove to the court, under criminal standards of evidence (the old "beyond reasonable doubt" bit), that an interference in an article 8 right was necessary in a democratic society, and proportional to the 'harm' prevented. The 'sting' is that, at the moment, he holds that HE is the 'court', and is easily persuadable that the crown is justified in wanting to lock me away. But IF the 'legal authority' can be found, it is possible (and incredibly desirable) that the Crown will, in effect, have to PROVE to a normal jury that the prohibition of cannabis is a good thing. For the first time ever, there is a CHANCE to turn the tables on the Crown. Rather than having to prove that we are not wrong for wanting to consume cannabis, they have to prove that they are right in trying to stop us. Don't worry if you don't get that first time through. It took me till about 7pm yesterday to get my head round it. So yesterday I managed to move things forward for the cause about an inch. Maybe even only a narrow crack. But the important thing is that I proved that it IS possible to stand up to the bastards without getting crushed and forgotten. I didn't get the great victory I hoped for, nor the come-uppance that most expected. But I achieved SOMETHING. How useful and valuable that thing ultimately is, who knows? I'm planning on sticking around a while, and finding out. "The GanjaCat" http:www.free2toke.net "G'Quan wrote: There is a greater darkness than the one we fight, it is the darkness of the soul that has lost its way. The war we fight is not against powers and principalities, it is against chaos and despair. Greater than the death of flesh is the death of hope, the death of dreams, Against this peril we can never surrender." G'Kar in "Z'HA'DUM"