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Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Posts Tagged ‘public interest

Home Office Denies FOI Request In Cover-Up Of All Information On Cannabis Production Licences

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On 6th March 2018 CLEAR submitted a Freedom of Information Request to the Home Office asking for full details of the licences accounting for the legal production of cannabis in the UK.  This arose from the story which we broke on 4th March revealing that the UK is the world’s largest producer and exporter of legal cannabis, this according to data provided to the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) by the government.

The Home Office has refused the request.  Its grounds for refusal are that disclosure “would, or would be likely to, prejudice the commercial interests of any person or would be likely to prejudice the prevention or detection of crime“.

Presumably this means that the commercial interest of GW Pharmaceuticals and whoever else has been granted such licences would be prejudiced and that they would risk robbery or other crime at their places of business.

INCB Production of Cannabis 2015-2016

We consider this to be false and without any merit whatsoever. How would it prejudice anyone’s commercial interest?  We would not expect any detail that goes behind the licence holder’s normal commercial confidence and it must be right that the identity of those companies or individuals licenced to produce cannabis should be on the public record together with outline information about the terms of the licence – what is it for, for what period, in what quantities.  Furthermore, with the security precautions required for such a licence, any attempt at crime would be foolhardy and utterly stupid.  It would be much easier either to import or produce your own cannabis.  The sort of criminal enterprise that would be required to raid, for instance, one of GW’s grows would be on a grand scale, incredibly risky and with sentences probably higher than for production of cannabis.

Clearly, disclosure of the information around these licences could, in any case, be limited to redact any specific information which should be kept confidential

It’s quite clear that this refusal is simply an excuse, probably to cover-up not only the extent of the licences but also the basis on which they have been issued.

Of course, the Home Office has pre-empted the next step in a FOI request and states that “the public interest falls in favour” of not providing this information.  We consider this to be nonsense.  It is clear that the public interest (not just the interest of the public) is very much that the issue of such licences should be a matter of public record.  It is outrageous that this information is being kept secret.

The answer to the second part of our FOI Request provides further insight into how little trust can be placed in the Home Office and demonstrates that its answers are dishonest.  In answer to a written question in Parliament on 1st March 2018, Home Office minster Nick Hurd MP said “No licences for pharmaceutical companies to grow and process medicinal cannabis for exportation to other countries have been issued.”  However the INCB report, which information can only have come from the Home Office, shows that in 2015/16 the UK exported 2.1 tons of medical cannabis.  We asked for an explanation of how Mr Hurd’s answer is consistent with the facts reported.

Nick Hurd MP, Home Office Minister

The Home Office’s answer is that “these figures could include any plant material exported for pharmaceutical purposes or pharmaceutical products containing cannabinoids that are manufactured in the UK and exported, such as Sativex.” and that it takes ‘medicinal cannabis’ to mean “substances produced to be consumed, be that smoked or ingested in any way.”

It is clear therefore that the Home Office has given two different answers to the same question and that the answer given to the INCB is correct whereas the answer given by Mr Hurd is without doubt intended to mislead Parliament.  It also seeks falsely to create a distinction between Sativex and other forms of cannabis which is manifestly and beyond doubt another deception, based on information published by GW Pharmaceuticals which CLEAR revealed in 2016.

In summary therefore, the Home Office has refused to answer the FOI Request in relation to licensing on grounds which are entirely spurious and has demonstrated that it is actively engaged in deceiving both Parliament and the public on the export of medicinal cannabis from the UK.

Following the required procedure, we have now requested an internal review of the Home Office’s handling of the FOI Request.  We argue that: “It goes directly to the question of the massive public demand for legal access to cannabis for medical use and the total denial of this by government. This policy is itself irrational and against the public interest and the refusal to disclose the information requested is a political cover-up.”

We anticipate this will be a whitewash and further attempt at a cover-up. Thereafter we have a right to complain to the Infomation Commissioner.  At this stage we would also seek to mobilise support from MPs with an interest in this area.  Ultimately, we may be able to apply to the High Court for judical review of the Home Office’s decision and we will consider mounting a crowdfunding campaign to enable this.

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It’s Time To Stand Up To The Gangsters From The Fleet Street Mafia.

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Brooks Newmark, Victim.

Brooks Newmark, Victim.

There is no excuse for the Sunday Mirror’s entrapment of Brooks Newmark.  It clearly amounts to a criminal offence under the Sexual Offences Act 2003.  For causing someone to engage in sexual activity without consent the penalty is up to 10 years in jail and both the freelance journalist concerned and the Mirror’s weekend editor Alison Phillips should be charged forthwith.

The subterfuge involved is also in clear breach of the Editors’ Code and the newly created, sham press regulator, IPSO, should act.  Mind you that’s like asking the mafia to lock up its gangsters.  It’s not going to happen.  IPSO and the sickening parasites who set up this fraud as a successor to the corrupt PCC are the problem and no part of the solution.

Alison Phillips, Sexual Offender

Alison Phillips, Sexual Offender

The only defence to the use of subterfuge under the Editors’ Code is if it is in the public interest.  After their disgraceful record over many years, anyone who thinks that Fleet Street can judge what is in the public interest, must be a Daily Mail reporter.  This sting has achieved absolutely nothing except to show that a man is vulnerable to the provocative enticement of an extremely attractive woman.  Frankly, Brooks Newmark would be either gay or impotent if he wasn’t sorely tempted by the delicious 22-year-old Swedish model Malin Sahlén, whose photograph was stolen by the Mirror and used to entrap the MP.

This is all part of the sickening hypocrisy, prurience and dishonesty which pervades Fleet Street.  Just like the banks, our pathetic and weak leaders, even in the face of the Leveson Inquiry, allow so-called journalists to act with impunity.  These aren’t journalists, they are malevolent, predatory criminal abusers and they should face the full force of the law.  The crime is aggravated because it is committed for financial gain and is deeply corrupting of our media and our society.

Malin Sahlén.  Who Wouldn't?

Malin Sahlén. Who Wouldn’t?

Another side to Fleet Street’s abuse of its power and hypocrisy is the revolting Camilla Long of the Sunday Times, who has been instrumental in the harassment and malicious prosecution of Dave Lee Travis – another life sacrificed on the altar of Fleet Street malice.  This vile bitch, for there can be no other description has misused her power in the media to launch the most repellent attacks on a man who is clearly innocent of any criminal intent.  I don’t know what is behind her abuse.  Perhaps she is sexually frigid and socially inept, incapable of handling herself in a situation of mild flirtation.  More likely she is doing it for the money and if you take a moment to look at the smug, patronising drivel she writes in the Sunday Times, she is obviously in desperate need of material.

As if we didn’t know already that Cameron’s cowardly retreat from Leveson would result in more abuse from Fleet Street.  Newmark must feel an idiot and highly embarrassed but it seems to me he has done nothing wrong except as far as his wife is concerned.  That he was a government minister should have made him more cautious but should afford him stronger protection under the law, just as he might have a bodyguard or personal security against physical attack.  The offences against him should therefore result in very severe sentences and the Sunday Mirror should go the same way as the News of the World.

My MP, Richard Drax, To Write To David Cameron On Drugs Policy

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The Honourable Member For Dorset South

Today I met with my MP, Richard Drax.  He was just as sickeningly handsome and charming as I expected him to be!   So I showed him no mercy and bombarded him with my opinions for a good half an hour.

I realised afterwards that my favourite maxim “less is more” would have been a better strategy.  Nevertheless,  he did offer to write to David Cameron on my behalf on drugs policy and seemed genuinely sympathetic to some of the points I made.

I have just sent him a lengthy email in confirmation which I reproduce below.  If anyone wishes to use this as a template for a letter or email to their own MP, please feel free to do so.

******

Dear Richard,

Thank you so much for your time today.  I very much enjoyed meeting you.  As I said, I came with opinions not problems.  I am grateful to you for listening to me.

I realise that I made the classic mistake of bombarding you with far too much information and not giving you time to absorb any.  I hope I may correct that error by summarising here what we talked about.

1. Gary McKinnon. Thank heavens that progress seems to have been made on this. The idea of an “extradition” treaty that provides for someone to be sent to the USA for trial on an alleged crime committed here is iniquitous.  It’s particularly unfair in McKinnon’s case as he suffers from Asperger’s syndrome.  You pointed out to me that similar dangers exist with the new European arrest warrant.

I would urge you to do everything possible to ensure that if Gary McKinnon is to be tried, it should take place in the UK.

2. Ian Tomlinson. In my view the failure to prosecute the policeman who assaulted him is an outrage and Keir Starmer’s reasons entirely inadequate.  Now that the credibility of the pathologist in the case has been destroyed by a GMC panel, Starmer should at least reconsider and hopefully reverse his decision.

References here:


http://pjroldblog.wordpress.com/2010/08/31/killer-cop-harwood-must-be-charged/

http://pjroldblog.wordpress.com/2010/07/24/keir-starmer-the-next-lord-widgery/

I would urge you to press for a re-consideration of the decision not to bring charges.  If no criminal charges are brought, at the very least the disciplinary hearing should be held in public as the rules allow.  The Tomlinson family are entitled to justice.

3. Drugs policy. You very kindly agreed to write to David Cameron on my behalf.  I am very concerned at the conduct of the Home Office at present and particularly James Brokenshire, the Minister for Crime Prevention who is causing great damage to both the coalition governemnt and the Tory party by promoting ideas and policies that contradict virtually all expert opinion, including the government’s own scientific advisers.  He also seems to be completely at odds with the calls for drug law reform which both David Cameron and Nick Clegg have made consistently over the last 10 years.

This is not a peripheral or secondary issue.  According to Baroness Meacher in the House of Lords on 15th June 2010, “There is no more obvious waste than the £19 billion annual cost of the UK’s war on drugs”.

There is a huge amount of reference material on this subject on my blog:

http://pjroldblog.wordpress.com/?s=drugs

I would also refer you to the Transform Drug Policy Foundation which has highly detailed and almost universally acclaimed proposals for drug regulation:

http://www.tdpf.org.uk

Virtually all experts agree that the “war on drugs” has failed. In exactly the same way as alcohol prohibition in the US led to a massive increase in crime and violence, so drug prohibition has created an illegal market said to be worth £350 billion per year. It has also financed civil war in Latin America for 25 years and is the principal source of finance for Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. Our soldiers are dying every day because of the illegal trade in opiates.  Why don’t we just buy up the whole crop for the next 10 years?  It would be much cheaper in both cash and lives than the Afghan war.

Virtually all experts agree that regulation would be a better solution.  I have distilled the following five point plan from everything that I have read and learned over more than 30 years:

1. An end to oppression of drug users (at least 10 million UK citizens)
2. Removal from the criminal law of any offence for possession and/or social supply
3. Fact and evidence-based policy, information and regulation
4. Re-direction of law enforcement resources against real criminals
5. Treat problematic drug use as a health issue

Five years ago, while campaigning for the Tory party leadership, David Cameron called for “fresh thinking and a new approach” towards drugs policy and said that it would be “disappointing if radical options on the law on cannabis were not looked at”. Nick Clegg has promised to repeal “illiberal, intrusive and unnecessary” laws and to stop “making ordinary people criminals”. There can be no better example of this than the laws against personal use and cultivation of cannabis, particularly for medicinal reasons. The coalition government’s new Your Freedom website has been inundated with proposals to legalise cannabis and to end the futile war on drugs.   In July a poll carried out for the LibDems showed 70% of people in favour of legalising cannabis.

The Home Office and James Brokenshire are completely out of touch with expert and public opinion as well as the declared views of both the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister.

In my view, regulation means tighter control on the most dangerous drugs such as heroin, cocaine and alcohol and lighter regulation on relatively harmless substances like cannabis and ecstasy.

There is also the very important question of medicinal cannabis.  The discovery of the endocannabinoid system in 1998 has led to an ever-escalating volume of evidence of the medicinal value of cannabis.  In June the MHRA approved Sativex as an MS medicine in the UK.  It is a whole plant extract yet presently, the Home Office refuses to consider a regulated system of the plant itself for medicinal purposes.  This is completely irrational and absurd.  The House Of Lords scientific committee recommended such a system should be introduced 12 years ago.  Medicinal cannabis is available and regulated throughout almost all of Europe, Israel and 14 states in the USA (with 12 more in the planning stage).  The UK stands almost alone in its obstinate refusal even to consider such a system.

Already this is leading to quite obscene injustices where patients have been prescribed Sativex by their doctor but their health authority has refused to fund it and patients are then facing criminal prosecution for cultivating their own plants.  There is a case of exactly this going on in the Dorchester Crown Court at present and the CPS insists it is in the public interest to prosecute!

Thank you once again for listening to me Richard. I hope these notes are useful in composing your letter to David Cameron and I look forward to hearing from you in due course.

Kind regards,

Peter Reynolds

British Justice On Trial

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Thugs, Slimeballs And Grunts

At last, four of the Metropolitan Police’s Territorial Support Group are to stand in the dock charged with assault causing actual bodily harm and a jury is to decide their fate.   They are PC Nigel Cowley, PC Mark Jones, PC Roderick James-Bowen and DC John Donohue.

He's Got To Go

Perhaps Keir Starmer, Director Of Public Prosecutions, thinks he will win back some credibility through this after his catastrophically bad judgement in the Ian Tomlinson case.   Not a bit of it.  In fact, the decision to prosecute now after a successful civil claim against these thugs, proves how negligent the original decision was.  The CPS is charged to uphold the public interest by statute.   It should not have to be harried to the Court reluctantly by civil action.  Yet again, Keir Starmer should hang his head in shame.  In fact, he should resign

These officers have already been proven on the balance of probabilities to have illegally assaulted Babar Ahmad in 2003.  Last year the High Court heard that he  was subject to “serious, gratuitous, prolonged, unjustified violence” and “religious abuse”.   Now the criminal courts will seek to extend that proof to beyond a reasonable doubt.   Meanwhile, the Met, which decided against any disciplinary action, chooses not even to suspend these proven thugs and bullies.  Sir Paul Stephenson should join them in the dock.  His disrespect for due process is astounding.  How can he have such men under his command?  The IPCC also failed in this case – yet again.  In 2007, it decided to take no action against any of the officers.

Keeping Mum

Almost every day now, new horror stories of illegal, brutal or simply dumb police behaviour are revealed.  This is the reward we have reaped from the massive investment and huge increase in salaries we gave to the police in the 80s.  According to my contact with inside knowledge it is due to a “collapse in supervision…and an arrogance due to few cops having much other work experience”.  The police service is no such thing for the average British citizen.  It is a self-serving bureaucracy with an aggressive sub-culture, acting as a revenue generating workforce for the state.  It is institutionalised racism, brutality, prejudice, bullying, corruption, cowardice, freemasonry, all dressed up in a jack-the-lad, paramilitary uniform.   It isn’t even any good at what it does.    Aside from dealing with road accidents and high-level anti-terrorism, I know of little good work done by the British police.  It has become an out of control monster that avoids doing what the public wants and picks and chooses what to devote its resources to.

PC Simon Harwood

If Keir Starmer can reverse his decsion on these thugs who beat up a suspected terrorist, he can also reverse his decison on the fatal assault on Ian Tomlinson, an entirely innocent bystander.   Meanwhile we await impatiently the coroner’s inquest on his death and the disciplinary hearing against PC Simon Harwood, which must be held in public in accordance with the statutory provisions.

Every time that a police officer breaks the law or exceeds his powers he breaches our trust.   It is the same as a bank employee stealing from his bank.  It must be punished particularly severely.  This must be the standard that British police adhere to.  We must never relent from calling the corrupt and incompetent to account.

We Wait For Justice

Whether a conviction is possible in this latest case, seven years after the events took place, I don’t know.  On the basis of its own rules the CPS must believe a conviction is more likely than not or it wouldn’t be proceeding .  Justice delayed though, is justice denied for Babar Ahmad and the policemen.  This repeated and continuing incompetence by the prosecution and regulatory authorities is every bid as dangerous as the deterioration in the police.   Suspicions of corruption, collusion and conspiracy are inevitable and must be answered.  These are serious threats to British justice.