Cumbria

'Cannabis chocolate bars' court case dropped

Lezley and Mark Gibson
Image caption Lezley and Mark Gibson described the ruling as "wonderful news"

A couple accused of producing cannabis-laced chocolate bars have had the case against them dropped after prosecutors said they would offer no evidence.

Lezley Gibson had been using the drug to relieve the symptoms of multiple sclerosis, her legal team said.

She and her husband Mark, both 55 and from Yewdale Road, Carlisle, had denied three charges relating to cannabis.

The prosecution has told Carlisle Crown Court it was "not in the public interest" to proceed against the pair.

The charges were brought after their home was raided by police in January 2019.

Officers confiscated 10 baby cannabis plants and three homemade cannabis chocolate bars.

The couple's legal team submitted they had "no option" but to cultivate cannabis in their home as Ms Gibson was "unable to access an NHS prescription, while the cost of a private prescription was prohibitive".

For many years she had been prescribed Sativex, a spray containing cannabis plant extracts which was provided on the NHS and eased her suffering, before it was withdrawn.

'All this silliness'

Prosecutor Brendan Burke told the court there had been "unlawful production" of cannabis, but having considered background reports and information a decision had been made not to pursue legal proceedings against Mrs Gibson, although only on "public interest grounds".

The same conclusion was reached in respect of her husband, who was "motivated by seeking to address his wife's problems".

There was applause from supporters in the public gallery when Recorder Michael Duck QC stated: "Mr and Mrs Gibson you are free to leave."

Speaking afterwards, Ms Gibson described the ruling as "wonderful news".

She said: "They've got to do something. They can't keep turning us into criminals.

"I'm not a criminal. I'm not a bad person. I've never done anything wrong in my life, and to find myself here at court with all this silliness is really quite unreal."

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