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Schizophrenic is fined for cannabis

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: May 25, 2014

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A 24-YEAR-OLD schizophrenic had been using cannabis to relieve his stress, a court has heard.

James Smith, of Heathway, Hatton, who is now seeking help through external agencies, appeared at Burton Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, to admit possession of the Class B drug.

Despite receiving Disability Living Allowance (DLA), Smith, who has schizophrenia and Asperger Syndrome, still managed to spend £20 on a bag of cannabis.

Emma Thompson, prosecuting, told the court that police officers were on duty on the morning of May 3 when they spotted a group in Watson Street, Burton, who they suspected were taking drugs.

She said: “The defendant was asked if he possessed any and he said he had cannabis in his pocket and pulled out a small bag of cannabis.

“He was arrested and interviewed and said he bought £20 worth of cannabis and had smoked a ‘spliff’. He told police it was for his own personal use.”

Smith has previously been found in possession of cannabis in February 2013 and was given a conditional discharge. He was also cautioned for drug possession in February 2012.

His defence solicitor told the court his client suffered from schizophrenia and other conditions and had been using the drug to relieve his stress.

Sukhi Ark, defending, said: “Police officers came across the group they believed they may be consuming drugs.

“My client volunteered his drugs to the police officers and fully admitted the offence.

“He has schizophrenia and Asperger Syndrome and has been taking cannabis to relieve his stress.

“He had been living in supported accommodation, and now he is living with his mother she has been helping him and taking him to agencies.”

Smith has been given a £120 fine, with £85 court costs and a £20 victim surcharge.

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