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Solicitors Warn Cannabis Cafe Man



A BUSINESSMAN who wants to open Wales' first cannabis cafe has been forced
to remove two controversial websites critical of North Wales Police
officers after he was threatened with legalaction.

Jeffrey Ditchfield's northwalespolice com and a forum debating change on
beggarsbelief com have now been down for more than a week after solicitors
Russell Jones & Walker contacted the businessman claiming material on the
sites was "defamatory and offensive".

The solicitors have promised to drop the matter provided Mr Ditchfield
removes the comments and posts an apology to the officers on the sites.

Earlier this year Mr Ditchfield opened BeggarsBelief, in Rhyl, from where
he said he was helping people suffering from illnesses like cancer and
multiple sclerosis by giving them free cannabis for medicinal purposes.

His shop was raided on the first day it opened in September and Mr
Ditchfield faces prosecution for possession and possession with intent to

Mr Ditchfield has also said it is his long-term aim to run Beggars Belief
as an Amsterdam-style cannabis cafe, selling the drug over the counter.

Russell, Jones & Walker contacted Mr Ditchfield, the secretary of the
North Wales Police Federation and two other officers.

Two claimed the site libelled them, while the third argued that remarks
made on the web pages about him were untrue and a breach of his human

But Mr Ditchfield has threatened a counter action against the police
officers and the solicitors, saying taking down the websites has
interrupted his trade because he uses them to advertise an on-line shop.

"I didn't withdraw the sites. They went to a company which uploads to the
web and threatened it with legal action," he said.

"It's only temporary, because I'm now looking to host it off-shore."

By hosting the site off-shore, Mr Ditchfield hopes to avoid falling foul
of this country's libel laws.

Copyright Trinity Mirror Plc.

Author: Darren Devine, The Western Mail
Source: Western Mail
Contact: readers@wme.co.uk
Website: WalesOnline: News, sport, weather and events from across Wales
Pubdate: Sunday, November 16, 2003
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