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Pro-cannabis Campaigner Fights Charge

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A Pro-cannabis campaigner is going all the way to the crown court to
challenge his arrest over possession of the drug.

Carl Wagner, 44, whose house was raided on December 15 by officers in riot
gear, appeared before magistrates in Hull yesterday charged with
cultivating four plants and possessing cannabis leaves and resin.

Mr Wagner, of Victoria Square off Ella Street in west Hull, refused to
enter a plea in court and District Judge Fred Rutherford said the case
would have to proceed to a trial, giving Mr Wagner the option of a trial at
the magistrates' court.

However, Mr Wagner elected for the trial to take place at the crown court -
where penalties are higher - and announced he would be defending himself.

Mr Wagner had previously refused a police caution, declaring his arrest was
unjust and he intended to fight it.

After refusing to plead at the court, Mr Wagner told the judge: "I consider
it an unjust law."

Prosecutor Brian Clarke told the court that the amount of cannabis found in
the house was entirely consistent with personal use and there was no
suggestion he was growing the weed to sell on.

Mr Wagner intends to save the taxpayer thousands of pounds by refusing
legal representation.

The defence costs in a two-day trial at the crown court run to about UKP
1,500, excluding prosecution costs and the amount of money it takes to run
the court and pay staff.

Mr Wagner said: "I consider this a cruel and unjust law and I don't believe
I should be in court. I will go to court and defend myself to save taxpayers."

Mr Wagner said he feels obliged to continue the case to highlight his
concerns about police raids for cannabis.

"This is not something I particularly want to do," he said.

"I could have just got a caution and buried my head."

Mr Wagner said he and his family were "still angry" at the police raid on
his house.

He said the police had turned his house "upside down" and said his family
were still scarred by their memories of the raid.

For the past two years Mr Wagner has run a stall in Hull's indoor Trinity
Market selling hemp and cannabis-related products .

In the last General Election he stood as a Legalise Cannabis Alliance

Pubdate: Tue, 30 Dec 2003
Source: Hull Daily Mail (UK)
Copyright: 2003 Northcliffe Newspapers Group Ltd
Contact: letters@hulldailymail.co.uk
Website: Hull Daily Mail - Latest local news, sport & business from Hull