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The president of a pro-cannabis organisation has pleaded not guilty
to possessing cannabis and claims that police searched him unlawfully.

Norml NZ head Christopher William Fowlie, 28, appeared in the
Auckland District Court yesterday.

He was arrested early last June 17 in a Karangahape Rd bus shelter.

Police said Fowlie was searched first in the shelter, and again in a
side street after Constables Karl Pennington and Karen Hoshek smelled
cannabis on either the defendant or his friend Carl Wanoa.

A sealed tin containing 0.7g of cannabis was found in Fowlie's trouser pocket.

Defence lawyer Peter Winter said police acted unlawfully by searching
Fowlie under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

He asked Judge Phil Gittos to exclude the evidence.

Mr Winter said police were conducting a random "sweep" of the area,
searching people without evidence.

Earlier in the hearing, Constable Pennington said he and Constable
Hoshek approached Fowlie and his friend because they were watching
police search another group of people.

Mr Winter said that was an "unlawful and unreasonable reason" to
search Fowlie, particularly in such a demeaning way.

But police prosecutor Christine Scott said the search was carried out
during routine checks around "problem spots" of the city.

Green MP Nandor Tanczos, Fowlie's friend and business partner in The
Hempstore Aotearoa, was named as a character witness but was not
called to give evidence.

Judge Gittos reserved his decision.

Newshawk: NORML NZ is working to reform our cannabis laws.
Pubdate: Sat, 09 Feb 2002
Source: New Zealand Herald (New Zealand)
Copyright: 2002 New Zealand Herald
Contact: letters@herald.co.nz
Website: NZ Herald Homepage - New Zealand's latest news, business, sport and entertainment
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