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Wigan teacher Alan Taylor in legal drugs challenge

A Wigan science teacher is planning a legal challenge after being arrested for cultivating cannabis.

drug equality allianceAlan Taylor, who has taught at Westleigh High School for 10 years, aims to question the Government’s administration of the Misuse of Drugs Act through the courts.

The 38-year-old, of East Leigh Avenue, Leigh, was arrested in August when four cannabis plants were discovered at his home.

He was suspended from school on the first day of the current school year, September 2, and charged with producing and possessing cannabis two weeks ago.

Mr Taylor, whose lessons have previously received an “excellent” rating from Ofsted, was due to appear before Wigan Magistrates Court yesterday (March 24).

But, after a submission was made to the court by his solicitor, Bob Toppin, proceedings were adjourned and the case will now be put before a district judge on May 15.

Mr Taylor, who does not dispute the facts of the case and has not entered a plea, plans to argue that the Misuse of Drugs Act is used by the Government in an illegal, irrational and unfair way.

He claims that the purpose of the Act is to protect society from all harmful drugs, with policies changing and evolving as new evidence about drugs and drug use become available.

But, he claims, alcohol and tobacco are excluded because they are socially accepted by the majority, whilst drugs such as cannabis are “demonised” and the people who use them “dehumanised”.

Mr Taylor said: “The consequences of this are often devastating to the lives of individuals, their families and to society, fatally undermining the credibility of any drugs education messages and leaving the young vulnerable to ignorance, mythology and predatory criminals.”

Working alongside the Drug Equality Alliance, Mr Taylor hopes to stay the criminal proceedings against him by taking his case to the High Court.

Darryl Bickler, who is acting as Mr Taylor’s McKenzie friend in the case, argued: “There is no evidence to suggest that what Mr Taylor is doing, growing cannabis for his own private use at home, is any more harmful to society than a heavy drinker.

“We are challenging and abuse of power relevant by the executive and an abuse of process relevant to the courts.

“There is a bias towards alcohol and tobacco and against Mr Taylor.”

Mr Taylor is also planning a separate claim against the police after officers disclosed the details of his arrest to Westleigh High School and the local education authority before he was charged.

He plans to argue that doing so was not relevant to his position as a teacher as there was no suggestion that he was supplying the drug or that his activities were anything other than private.
He says his professionalism and ability to do his job has never been called into question and, as such, his arrest does not constitute grounds for disciplinary proceedings.

A spokesman for the Local Education Authority said: “As soon as the headteacher John Banks was made aware of the incident in September last year he suspended Mr Taylor primarily as a neutral act and we await the outcome of the legal process.”


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