07 November 2006

Queens Bench Ruling highlights problems of Cannabis Policy

The policing and policy towards cannabis received another blow when the Queens Bench Divisional Court refused a judicial review of a man cautioned for possession of cannabis in his own home. Norville Mondelly (The Times reported) was found in possession of cannabis when the police attended his property by mistake>

Although the aggravating factors that would normally have resulted in arrest were absence, the police initially decided to arrest under Section 8(d) (allowing premises to be used for smoking cannabis) before deciding that there was insufficient evidence to charge for this, and settling instead for a caution at the police station.

Mondelly sought to challenge this, as being contrary to the ACPO policy and guidance. But the court did not find in his favour, stressing that if the policy did constrain police action or make arrest or prosecution impossible, then such a policy would be unlawful.

The case really highlights the worthlessness of the current guidance, providing as it does no protection for individuals, who may believe that they would not be arrested for personal possession in their own home, as that is what the guidance led them to believe.

For the full Times coverage, click here

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