Took cannabis for pain relief

A BRIDLINGTON man who took cannabis to ease the pain of a chronic degenerative illness has been given a conditional discharge.

Johnathan Helm, of Matson Road, Bridlington, pleaded guilty to two charges of possessing a Class B drug relating to incidents on July 1 and August 26 last year, at a hearing at Bridlington Magistrates Court last Wednesday (Jan 25).

Prosecuting, Victoria Mills told the court that Helm, 23, had first been found with cannabis at his home on July 1 when a local PCSO and a housing officer had visited the property.

They discovered the remains of what was described as a ‘cannabis factory’ in the attic of the property, and an amount of powdered herbal cannabis worth around £120. Helm denied to police that the cannabis belonged to him, as his condition meant he could not have got into the loft, but did admit to officers that he used cannabis to help him sleep.

A PCSO and housing officer returned to the property on August 26 and again found Helm in possession of around £110 worth of the Class B drug.

Mitigating, Vicky Lancaster told the court that the degenerative muscle condition Helm suffered from was very rare, with only around 500 or so sufferers in England. She said he was diagnosed at 15 and had been unable to work due to the condition, but lived on his own with his carer girlfriend to retain a degree of independence.

“The position with him is that his dad has found that there was what he called ‘local scrotes’ who have been going to his sons house and setting up this cannabis factory in his loft,” said Ms Lancaster.

“They tell him that he should have some (cannabis) to help with the pain, so he starts taking it palliatively. They have threatened him and what really takes the biscuit is they start charging him for it.

“The police have seen this, PC Prendergast is not daft and he can see Mr Helm can’t get himself up into the loft.”

Presiding magistrate Mike Bowman said: “We have heard what has been said and we do have a lot of sympathy, but you have made a conscious decision to smoke cannabis on two occasions.”

Helm was given a 12 month conditional discharge, and told to pay £85 court costs, while Mr Bowman ordered forfeiture and destruction of the cannabis.