News

It's Not Just Cannabis!

May 9, 2017

Many solicitors call us and ask whether we deal with cases other than cannabis production and are surprised when we highlight some of the cases that we have been involved in. Over the past ten years we have been instructed on a diverse range of cases. We have of course established an unrivalled expertise on cannabis production cases. After all how many other experts in the UK have grown cannabis under license from the Home Office to study cannabis plant yields for the purposes of commenting on yields in criminal cases? It is going the extra mile that sets us aside and allows us to provide robust challenges to unfounded evidence in cannabis cases.  Our research into medical cannabis use has resulted in meetings with the head of the medical cannabis department in the Dutch government in the Hague and we have close links with the evolving American medical cannabis suppliers. 

But its not just about cannabis.  Cocaine supply and consumption are a regular feature for us assessing those borderline cases where the court are asked to consider 'personal use' or possession with intent to supply? Similarly we deal with a considerable number of cases involving heroin and crack cocaine where similar issues are sought to be challenged.  Our practical experience of drug markets often means that we can comment on aspects beyond the scope of other experts and we love a challenge.

Leading solicitors firms specialising in POCA cases turn to us when they want drug valuations challenged.  Whilst Financial Investigators seek to apply "Street Values" in order to maximise the benefit figure we are able to offer alternative values based on the "Market Value" at which the drug will be supplied.  How many solicitors have accepted a valuation based on the "Street Value" or in the case of cocaine after it has been "bulked out" due to high purity because they felt it couldn't be challenged.  In many of the POCA cases we have reviewed we have been able to reduce valuations by tens or even hundreds of thousands by utilising our expert approach.  After all when was the last time you encountered an importer of cocaine found in possession of five kilograms of cocaine at 92 per cent purity selling it at "Street Level" in £10 bags at £100 per gram? I would wager never and yet many will not seek to challenge such a value.  Reducing benefit figures gives considerable client satisfaction as the implications for excessive benefit figures can result in real losses or hardships as homes and possessions are sold to meet the order. 

There are of course the cases of "mistaken identity" where clients seek to challenge the forensic evidence in a case.  In Dr Richard Hooker we have one of the UK's most experienced and practical forensic practitioners.  As more and more police forces seek to reduce forensic costs by allowing police officers to test and examine a wide range of drugs is there ever a greater and more persuasive argument for solicitors to reconsider forensic findings?  Our Forensic Toxicologist, Mr Stan Porter is a lead on toxicology issues and comments on aspects of drink and drug driving as well as drug effects. 

Increasingly evidence is derived from text messages, WhatsApp and other social media platforms.  In a recent 'conspiracy' case we successfully challenged interpretations suggesting that xxxx was a supplier of cocaine.  A wider review of the messages was conducted by us which confirmed he was a purchaser and user of cocaine but proper interpretation of the messages showed him to be a customer and consumer rather than a conspirator to the wholesale supply of cocaine. 

And its not just about drugs, well not directly anyway.  This year already we have been instructed in high-profile murder cases attracting international and national coverage.  Cases involving manslaughter, arson and rape to name but a few.  Each day is unique, challenging and exciting.  So when asked "is it just cannabis that you deal with?" the answer from us is a resounding "NO!"

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If you ever need advice on a drug-related case we are always happy to discuss so please contact us on 01404 44459.