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Medical Marijuana Advocate Wins Shorter Sentence

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An advocate for medical marijuana has lost a bid to quash his cannabis convictions but his sentence has been cut in half.

At a trial in the Palmerston North District Court last year, William "Billy" Duffield McKee, 58, was found guilty of four charges of selling cannabis and one of cultivating the drug.

McKee represented himself and in his closing argument to the jury spoke about his views on cannabis laws.

He was subsequently sentenced to 12 months' home detention but that has now been slashed to six months by the Court of Appeal.

In a judgment released yesterday, the court has upheld McKee's convictions in what was described as "an unusual case".

McKee, who had one leg amputated more than 30 years ago after he was the victim of a hit and run, hosted the GreenCross website, which promoted cannabis use for treating medical ailments.

Between February 2010 and May 2011, McKee was targeted in police sting Operation Relief. Four times McKee sold small amounts of cannabis to an undercover police officer who claimed he suffered from migraines.

In July 2011, police raided McKee's Levin house and found 66 cannabis plants.

McKee's appeal drew on conventions such as the Magna Carta - a 1215 document setting down the rule of law in Britain - and the Bill of Rights Act, which allows courts to overrule decisions not compliant with them.

McKee said the jury's verdict could be overturned because it appeared to be against the evidence produced in court, that the trial judge misdirected the jury, that he was entrapped by police, and that he lawfully supplied the drug.

Court of Appeal judges Justices Simon France, Lowell Goddard and Douglas White disagreed.

They said trial judge Barbara Morris told the jury to reach their verdicts according to the evidence and that the trial was "not the forum to lobby for legislative change".

The judges found the undercover policeman did not incite McKee to commit a crime.

McKee could not be reached for comment yesterday. After being sentenced last year he said the process was "beating up on the medical users of New Zealand."


News Hawk- Truth Seeker 420 MAGAZINE ®
Source: stuff.co.nz
Author: Jimmy Ellingham
Contact: Contact Us - about-stuff | Stuff.co.nz
Website: Medical marijuana advocate wins shorter sentence | Stuff.co.nz
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