A 73-YEAR-old man in a wheelchair who took a daily infusion of cannabis with his tea to relieve pain in his legs has been prosecuted for possession of drugs.
Euvil Smith from St Pauls was arrested in February at his home in Byron Street for the second time in three years after police executed a search warrant. He pleaded guilty at Bristol Magistrates Court on Wednesday but was given a conditional discharge after the court heard about his medical condition.
Prosecutor Andrea Edwards said Smith had let the police into his house and immediately showed them two large bags of the drug.
They also found a set of digital scales. The court heard he was arrested but bailed so he could attend a hospital appointment for kidney dialysis.
“He uses cannabis in his tea for pain relief,” she told the court.
Smith told the police he had bought the two bags, weighing a total of 121.89 grams for £200 but police put a street value of around £600 on the drugs, said Ms Edwards.
“The police say it is unlikely he paid £200,” she added.
Smith revealed in interview he used the scales to measure out eight grams at a time which would last him a few days and consumed around 80g a month.
The court heard Smith had been convicted four times for possession of drugs between 1990 and 2008.
“The circumstances for Mr Smith are very different to those in the guidelines (for prosecution of cannabis possession)”, said Michael Winter, defending.
He recalled representing Smith in 2008 in similar circumstances.
“The police came to his house and seized a much larger amount of cannabis,” he told the court. “They took the view it must be for intent to supply due to its size, but on reflection they accepted a basis of plea that it was taken for medicinal use.”
He said it was now accepted the conviction had been “wrongly entered on the police computer”, still showing the intent to supply aspect.
“That shaped this investigation in the early stages,” said Mr Winter.
He provided the court with a letter from Smith’s GP dated 2008 and for the current prosecution stating Smith had a serious kidney condition, suffered from diabetes and acute pain in his legs and feet.
“Because of that he resorts to using cannabis,” said Mr Winter.
“The GP does not necessarily condone this particularly but recognises it provides Mr Smith with the best pain relief he has experienced.”
Magistrates chairman Barbara Pinkerton gave Smith a conditional discharge for six months and ordered forfeiture and destruction of the drugs and for Smith to pay costs of £85.
A CPS spokesperson told the Evening Post: “Possession of cannabis is an offence. Every case is looked at on its merits and must satisfy two tests: Is there sufficient evidence to prosecute? Is it in the public interest to prosecute?”
Smith did not wish to comment.