27th September 2016
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Jailed man claims cannabis was for pain relief

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A man who grew cannabis to relieve his back pain has been handed a six month prison sentence at Lerwick Sheriff Court.

Ian Leask, 50, of Prospect House in Lerwick’s Law Lane, previously admitted producing the class B substance at his home over a five month period until 11th February.

The court heard police were acting on intelligence when they attended Leask’s address and found a “substantial cultivation”.

Procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie said items found in Leask’s bedroom included a large tent and UV lamp, with windows covered by black bags.

However, the fiscal said he accepted there was no commercial element to the cultivation.

Defence agent Tommy Allan said Leask, who had declared himself on hunger strike after initially being remanded in relation to the case two months ago, had experienced difficulty as a result of back problems.

He added Leask had tried a number of remedies prescribed to him, but had concerns about potential side-effects.

“His clear purpose was to relieve his own pain. He identified a particular strain of cannabis recognised for pain relief,” the agent said.

“He is not a threat to others and has spent two months in remand. Remand is more difficult for him than it would be for other people.”

Mr Allan said the circumstances of the case had been difficult for Leask because he knew what the consequences were.

“I’d ask you to take account of the clear and obvious pain he is suffering from.”

However, sheriff Philip Mann said his job of sentencing Leask was made less difficult by a medical report, which showed Leask had failed to take account of all kinds types of prescribed medication.

“You’ve got several previous convictions – quite a lot of previous convictions – and some of them are for exactly the same offence as this one.

“Initially I thought this case was going to cause me difficulty because of the fact you are using cannabis, you say, for pain relief.

“It would cause me difficulty if it turned out you had tried everything possible with regard to prescribed medication before turning to cannabis.

“The medical report obtained indicates you have not taken every opportunity to look for prescribed medication, so this case is not quite so difficult as I thought it was going to be.

“I can’t do anything other than impose a custodial sentence. It’s clearly against the law to produce cannabis.”

The sheriff added he accepted the Crown’s assertion that the drugs were not intended for supply.

He backdated the sentence to 12th February, and granted forfeiture of all the plant-producing equipment which was seized by police.