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Eddy Ellison: The other side of the coin

 
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Ferre
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2004 5:19 pm    Post subject: Eddy Ellison: The other side of the coin Reply with quote

An article by Eddy Ellison, former chief of Scotland Yard Drug Squad.


Eddy Ellison wrote:
The other side of the coin

Eddy Ellison
by Eddie Ellison

I've recently been exchanging ideas about what to do if the 'wrong' policeman comes calling on a 'personal home grow' operation. The debate centres on whether it is wise to have documentation around to assist any prosecution to 'prove a case' or whether it is better to try and avoid giving any 'assistance' at all. The problem is that in order to try and prevent an arrest going to a prosecution, and also to provide ammunition for good mitigation, there is a good case for actually having good documentation around.

The aim is to try and give assistance to the 'small personal grower' to minimise any fall-out in the event of an arrest. Too many small cases turn up at court as potential commercial grows, as sophisticated (I think that means that you tried to be successful), established grows with a profit production potential that would make each and every commercial farmer in the UK envious.

An alternative view is to have a 'mission statement' available, attached to a grow, that can be utilised at court to show the real motives behind any home grow.

The first, and obvious, point is that each and every person entering this field should take care not to attract any attention and not even have to consider avoiding arrest, prosecution or mitigation. That means don't brag, don't talk, don't show and don't get into any other sort of bother that may 'invite' a policeman into your house. It's what we do to prepare for the eventuality of a policeman arriving that causes the problems.

The problem with 'home growing' is that there is usually ample evidence around the house to convict so that reduces any chances of avoiding arrest even if you take every other care. If a policeman arrives it's often too late to do any 'avoidance' of arrest activity.

That leaves three avenues of reducing probs. The first is to try and get a 'caution' by the officers. I know it often goes against all preferences but, like me when I get caught speeding, I tend to recommend the 'humble pie' approach. I'd rather eat my pride than a fine. At this stage you are looking to create the best impression on the officers as possible to 'allow' them to consider a 'caution' rather than a charge and passing it to the Crown Prosecution Service. It may not feel right but I don't know of much success record of confrontation, although it may be more fun.

The recent changes in cannabis classification, apart from being cosmetic and ineffective in the legislation, did not change for growing. There are 'guidelines' out to all police stations about recommendations for charging, and medi-use is one factor that allows for 'non-prosecution'. Like everything, it's up to the officers and their supervisors. There are no guidelines for growing at all.

If that is so then I, personally, think that what you can achieve is to prove, not simply argue, that you were growing simply for yourself and not distributing. A record of supply to medi groups will, at least, cast doubt on the need to charge since the medi use guide does exist. Similarly you can prove, not just argue, that apart from personal growing for yourself you are a terribly respectable member of society, not a revolutionary.

This is where I feel the 'Mission Statement' has risk. All officers will know the background to the cannabis debate and the majority may even be sympathetic. A 'mission statement' appears to me to be more confrontational. They will know you disagree with the law simply by growing and using but to produce a declaration, I think, simply moves the 'confrontation' up a notch. I can see its value at a later stage but it may reduce the chance of 'outers' at this initial stage.

An additional problem is that 'policy' differs in different parts of the country. You will probably know how your local courts deal with cannabis and this should guide you. If your courts are lenient then you can afford to ignore the chance of a 'caution' and go for the use of a mission statement in mitigation or to try and get the CPS to drop the charges.

.........These two chances are available to be 'played'. The CPS is the second chance, as they need two factors to proceed. They need adequate evidence to prove the charge (over a 50% chance of a guilty verdict) and they consider the 'public interest'. If they see a knowledgeable defendant who can articulate the arguments then they may back off. The mission statement may help here, as they will know they have an 'opponent' who will use the papers and the court to show that the prosecution is ridiculous. Again they will take evidence of personal use and not distribution into account.

The final chance is at court. I've already said that there is usually enough evidence to arrest and convict but you do have a chance to prepare mitigation before anything happens. There are a variety of ways to approach any court appearance. You can plead not guilty and try and get a 'perverse' verdict from a jury by trying to convince them to acquit against the evidence. You can plead guilty and try one of two different approaches to mitigate. First is to show that you are a personal grower, medi supplier, law abiding apart from cannabis, potential law changes, examples from other countries, etc., or you can do the political speech about legalisation and try and impress the Judge.

Now I think the Mission Statement lends itself to the last option but you must be sure that you are prepared to go that route before using it. It may help with the other option but I¹m not sure it helps as much as it hinders. Again it looks more confrontational than the "I'm really a nice guy who want to use and grow to avoid bad dealers" approach.

The honest answer is that, with decisions being left to police about arrests or cautions, decisions being left to the CPS about prosecuting or dropping in the public interest and with Judges that have so great a variety of approaches, it's a gamble whichever way you go - but you have decided to take part of that gamble already by growing. What it boils down to is to do whatever you, personally, think is best and stick with it. If you actually give consideration before the worst happens then you are ahead of 90% of most of the growers.

The climate is changing, both with police and with the courts. The trouble is that no politician is prepared to make a decision and is leaving it to the practitioners to sort out. It's a mess.

I have an additional, very practical, sympathy for the records approach. It is that an outdoor grower has a large quantity of grass after a once a year harvest and it would certainly be enough to 'support' a charge of Possession With Intent to supply (pwi). The previous records actually go to prove it is a personal grow and could be used, both by the defendant and an 'expert' witness to argue against pwi. I know we get some heavy sentences for possession but not when compared to pwi where it's horrendous, even for relatively small quantities.

Source: CC Newz Magazine:
www.ccnewz.com



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PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2004 8:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Coo-ex-cop. Cool
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2004 5:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BTW, I have met the CCNewz magazine editors at the London Hemp Fair and they are really cool people who do a lot to support medical cannabis. When I went to their website a couple of days ago to my pleasant surprize I noticed they have placed a thc-ministry.net banner right on top of their first page. Cool

Needless to say I totally sympatize with CCNewz magazine. Very Happy
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2004 5:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hehe just saw it. Congrats.
http://www.ccnewz.com/
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2004 11:17 am    Post subject: Nice going! Reply with quote

Hello Ferre,

Jah-loha. Nice going with the CCNews people. That banner is super!

The article from the ex-Scotland Yard guy is amazing, too. He sounds like a smoker to me. And he's got a nice, friendly face in that photo, too.

Was he possibly speaking of our Sanctuary sign? :-}

It's amazing to me that the 'religious use' of herb gets almost zero mention in any major press. What's up with that? Are we such a small minority with so little impact in the media?

That's changing nicely with the banner on the CCNews. Mahalo, Ferre!

All the best to everyone,

Roger


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2004 3:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had the opportunity to debate Eddie before I knew who he was. He was not only was a cop but head of the drug squad at Scotland Yard. He argued that the adversarial relationship betweem law enforcement and activists is something that must be improved so that fruitful dialogue can begin. I wasn't receptive at first due to my own predjudices but since then he has been instrumental in shaping my views of how to relate to people.

Eddie is also a public speaker for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition which seeks to end prohibition by educating the public with what is wrong with current policies. You have to admit that when law enforcement officers and judges organize to educate the public about the harms of prohibition that we have powerful allies in our struggle. They will support any efforts to end prohibition and will speak publicly for nothing more than reimbursment for expenses. This is a resource not to be ignored and it's only my own lack of funds that has delayed my dream to have a representative visit my area. The website is: http://leap.cc
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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2005 12:25 pm    Post subject: Re: Nice going! Reply with quote

RogerChristie wrote:
Hello Ferre,



The article from the ex-Scotland Yard guy is amazing, too. He sounds like a smoker to me. And he's got a nice, friendly face in that photo, too.
###


I feel I'm such a disapointment to you - haven't even smoked straights!

but friendly - OK!

Nice to discover another delightful, educated board.

Regards
Eddie E
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Ferre
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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2005 1:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Eddy, welcome on our boards. I'm happy you have found us and I'm sure you'll find some very interesting information here too.

wavey
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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2005 4:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Leap has had over 50 events in Pennsylvania in 2005 with more to come. Howard Wooldridge is crossing the country and will pass through my state too. He's riding across the US for a second time on his horse Misty spreading the message of the failure of prohibition. Just before his latest cross coutry ride, Howard visited the Pittsburgh area including events that were hosted by local churches. Very Happy

Check out Eddies latest article in CCNEWS:HOW TO AVOID BEING BUSTED ogen
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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2005 6:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Howdy Eddie...

Glad to have you!

Laughing
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