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Mr Bates VS The Post Office; A Comparison With The Drug War.

As everyone is rightfully enraged at the injustice of the British legal system as they watch the TV drama Mr Bates Vs The Post Office [1], one question is on everyone's mind: How could something like this happen in Britain?

UK Cannabis Legal System

It's been called the biggest legal scandal in the history of Britain, but I have some illusions to shatter for you. This happens at a rate of around 358 times per day [2], every day, has been going on for over half a century, and is happening with the full knowledge and blessing of the British State. How do I know this? Because I was a victim of the very processes I speak of.

Around 10 years ago I got involved with the cannabis reform movement. Initially through UKCSC (UK Cannabis Social Clubs) and Teesside Cannabis Club

During my time interacting with those organizations, I thought if I was going to be involved, I should have a good defence ready for anything I do. As a former Ministry of Defence IT tech who has plied his trade across multiple sectors of government including the police, National Probation Service, Crown Prosecution Service, Ministry of Justice and Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, I have a total respect for the chain of command and rule of law. Processes and procedures are implemented through a process of trial and error to ensure that those processes and procedures are rock solid.

What I set about doing to begin with was to do my due diligence on the charges of: 

Possession/cultivation etc of a schedule one controlled substance in contravention of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 [3]

Like any job, I broke it down, in this case to the claims made with regards to cannabis.

1) Claim of Schedule One Status

2) Claim of Controlled Status

I firstly went looking for the evidence used by the government to legislate cannabis as a 'schedule one' substance, meaning it has no medicinal benefit and a high propensity for abuse.

I spent 3 weeks scouring every government website I could, but couldn't find it. Having been instrumental in building the relationship between Teesside Cannabis Club and Durham Constabulary at the time, I relented and chose to call the police to ask if they could direct me to it.

I was firstly told that they weren't sure, but that they would get the late Ron Hogg, former Police, Crimes and Victims Commissioner (PCVC) of Durham Constabulary, to give me a call later that day, as he might be able to help. When he later called me and I asked him to direct me to this evidence he told me he couldn't. When I asked why not, he told me that there isn't any. It doesn't exist. For 10 years, I've been trying to get this over to everyone I can. If you have ever been a victim of the Misuse of Drugs Act, then you're no different to a post office/Fujitsu/Horizon victim. You are being prosecuted on the basis of evidence that doesn't exist. If I had not done this work, then gone through the system myself, I'm not quite sure I would believe that this could be/is going on in 21st century Britain.

It took a few years, but eventually the right grouping of people came together, with a supporting cast of hundreds of evidence gatherers and victims from across the country. Their work was then detailed in the very first document released by the Seed Our Future group titled 'No Evidence No Crime' [4] of which I am listed as a co-author. It was released to the public domain in October of 2020 and also mailed to every police force in the country at the same time. That was followed in November of 2020 with a mail shot to every MP in the country. No one can deny they were informed!

In January of 2021 I was arrested in my home for cultivation of cannabis. Throughout the whole process I insisted that they were making fraudulent claims about the properties of the plants I was growing. I asked them repeatedly for evidence that I knew they couldn't give me. I also informed them that I had an email from the office of Steve White, current PCVC of Durham Constabulary, stating that they didn't hold that information. I was told I couldn't possibly have that information and they simply ignored every demand to defend their claims, while also refusing to perform their duties by  following procedures [5] whilst scrutinizing their processes. ‘Pay peanuts, get monkeys’ it would seem. 'Just following orders' is not a defence, or at least it shouldn't be!

Personal Experience With Cannabis & The UK Legal Judiciary System

Then, the blood sucking lawyer turns up to tell me I have the choice of the checkpoint decriminalization process, or go take my chances at criminal defence. Just like the character of Lee Castleton played by Will Mellor who had also torn his hair out going over documents and doing his due diligence, I had faith in British justice because I knew I was right, and I decided to take my chances. More fool me for being so hopelessly deluded about the country I reside in.

I had 4 court appearances in total.

At the first, I admitted to the cultivation of cannabis, but not guilty to it meeting the criteria for a schedule one substance. I told the court that any claim that it meets that criteria is false by representation. I was told that didn't matter and that is how I was going to be charged.

Round 2; Same again. I admit to growing cannabis but not as a schedule one. I even asked the judge how I could plead guilty to something that cannot be evidenced. Obviously there was no reply to that.

Round 3; Same again except this time I wasn't allowed to talk. I admitted to growing cannabis but not as a schedule one substance.

Round 4; I was forced to ‘go guilty’ with the threat of 6 years inside, or walk out on a suspended sentence. I took the suspended option, as having worked in several prisons across the country in the past, I know they're not places I want to be spending any time.

There's a scene in Mr Bates that sums it up. Alan asks Jo; "Why did you plead guilty?"

She replies, "Because I didn't want to go to prison."

To which he says, "You shouldn't have to. It's supposed to be innocent until proven guilty."

Jo snorts back, "Yeah, right."

I couldn't help but feel that.

There were two debates at around the time of all of this in Parliament where the aforementioned is raised. The first took place on 20th May 2019 [6]. During this debate, Crispin Blunt MP stated for Hansard;

"The problem is that the scientific research base is in its infancy, because we put in place stupid regulations that were driven by the racism of 1950s American law enforcement, which is why cannabis was listed in schedule 1 to the 1961 convention."

This confirms, from a member of the current Tory government, the politically motivated and racist foundation of this legislation.

The second debate took place on 17th June 2021 [7]. At this one, Crispin Blunt MP confirmed the "evidence free" approach to cannabis legislation when he stated;

"....our drug scheduling plainly lacks scientific validation and has not been subject to analysis or any recent official analysis of harm. The Home Office has no plans to commission a comprehensive review of the relative harms of the drugs that have been put in schedule 1. This evidence-free approach must change."

Thus confirming that there is literally no evidence whatsoever to back up the claims made about cannabis in the charges that tens of thousands of us face every year by police forces who would rather follow orders than do their jobs.

He also said;

"If the House had known then what we know now, passing that Act would have been an appalling betrayal of its duty to the public interest."

In a scene from the second episode of Mr Bates, Jo Hamilton is going over some of the details of her case with Bob Rutherford when he tells her;

"No evidence means they had no right to charge you with theft, and therefore no right to plea-bargain you down to false accounting. Jo, no evidence means they had no right to take you to court at all."

The barrister I was using from Teesside, who advertises as an expert in drug law, was presented the Seed Our Future defence by Steve Harrison of Flora Fusion.

Arrested For Cannabis Cultivation UK

He took it all in, he strengthened it where needed, and he confirmed every detail. By the end of the presentation, looking a bit flustered, he asked who was financing us.

This highly paid expert purveyor of our 'laws' looked a tad put out when I replied that it was the Department for Work and Pensions. 

He then told me that it's an appeal case.

So to stand a chance of beating the charges, you first have to plead not guilty, get the stiffest penalty possible, then appeal from prison. However if they don't like your appeal, your penalty can be made more severe.

Would you like to take a chance like that under this government?

What you have here is the Horizon scandal on steroids with the tacit complicity of multiple state and private actors who are all involved in the enforcement of prohibition policies.

John Ehrlichman, the former Nixon advisor and drug war architect gave an interview to Harper's Bazaar Magazine in 1995 [8] where essentially, he admitted it to the world.

He told them;

You want to know what this [war on drugs] was really all about? The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the anti-war left and black people. You understand what I’m saying?
We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities.
We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

The Misuse of Drugs Act is racist, political, ideological and fraudulent, as admitted by the very man who designed the drug war to be that way!

Under current legislation, it breaches the Criminal act 1977 (conspiracy) [9], Fraud act 2006 [10] and finally the Terrorism act 2000 [11].

All of this is well known by MP's from all factions who have put on record that they are ignoring evidence. Just check any debate on cannabis in Hansard and you'll find multiple references.

All of this is also well known about by a lot of top UK influencers and cannabis culture 'leaders' who say nothing about any of it while using their platforms to push campaigns from 10 years ago that went nowhere to a new round of people who want to get in on the 'cannabis movement' and can be milked for clicks and cash.

All of it, I have zero doubts, is on behalf of Tory party handlers.

The next time you want to sneer at someone who's just been prosecuted for anything cannabis related, just remember that they're no different to the people victimized in the Horizon scandal that you're so enraged about.

Our question for you; when do we get our justice??

Or should we be asking Sir Keir Starmer, the human rights lawyer and Leader of the Labour Party, who thinks that drug laws are "roughly right" that question? [12]


1. ITVX (January 2024). Mr Bates vs The Post Office (TV Episode Listing). January 22, 2024).

2. AlphaBiolabs (2021) New figures show police are making a record 358 cannabis seizures every day | AlphaBiolabs UK. (Accessed: January 22, 2024).

3. UK Government: Home Office (1971) Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. January 22, 2024).

4. Seed Our Future (2020) Report: No Evidence: No Crime (pdf report). (Accessed: January 22, 2024).

5. UK Government: Home Office. (2022) PACE Code G 2012. January 22, 2024).

6. UK Parliament (2019) Medical Cannabis under Prescription: Parliamentary Debate (2019) UK Parliament. Hansard. (Accessed: January 22, 2024).

7.UK Parliament (2021) Misuse of Drugs Act: Parliamentary Debate (2021) UK Parliament. Hansard. (Accessed: January 22, 2024).

8.Baum, D. (2016) Legalize it all. January 22, 2024).

9.UK Government: Home Office (1977) Criminal Law Act 1977. January 22, 2024).

10.UK Government: Home Office (2006) Fraud Act 2006. (Accessed: January 22, 2024).

11. UK Government: Home Office (2000) Terrorism Act 2000. (Accessed: January 22, 2024).

12. Hatton, B. (2022) 'Starmer against changing drug laws as London considers reducing cannabis arrests,' The Independent, 4 January. January 22, 2024).

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