England

MP's son Sean Ellman cleared in legal high label case

  • 13 May 2013
  • From the section England

The shopkeeper son of a Liverpool MP has been cleared of failing to properly label "legal highs" to warn consumers about potential risks.

Sean Alex Ellman, 40, son of Labour MP Louise Ellman, sold sachets of a substance called "Gogaine" in his Chester shop.

Trading Standards officials accused him of breaching consumer laws.

But a Chester judge said the case fell down when officers failed to test the substance to prove it posed a risk.

District Judge Brigid Knight, sitting at Chester Magistrates' Court, said there was no case to answer.

'Mimicked' cocaine

The court heard Mr Ellman, of Withington, Manchester, sold the substance in his shop Doctor Hermans in Eastgate Row, Chester, as a "research chemical" - though he admitted he knew people would take it.

Trading Standards said the labels "not for human consumption" and "not suitable for under-18s" were not enough to warn customers of any risks.

But the contents of the sachets bought in test purchases by officials from Cheshire West and Chester Council Trading Standards were not tested, the court heard.

Judge Knight said the label "Gogaine" on the front and back of the sachets implied they mimicked illegal drug cocaine but there was no evidence as to what they contained.

The judge said trying to regulate "legal highs" was an "absolute nightmare" for local authorities and more should be done by parliament to protect consumers.

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