Magistrate Roger Speakman handing out cruel justice.

By Chris Bovey

A 70-year-old burglary victim has been taken to Court and must pay a total of £105 for growing his own cannabis to alleviate pain from sciatica and arthritis, conditions where it is well-documented cannabis can help.

Granddad, Malcolm Voce, who had never been in trouble before in his life was prosecuted when police found his small grow after a neighbour reported his house was being burgled while he was on holiday.

Mr Voce, a former sign erector, started using cannabis after he found it more effective than ibuprofen for reducing the pain associated with sciatica and rheumatoid arthritis in his left hand.

A friend with a similar condition recommended cannabis, which he found to be instantly helpful, but he didn’t like having to source it on the criminal black market, so he decided to grow his own instead.

Defending solicitor, Emma Wyborn, told Nottingham City Magistrates that Mr Voce was not even a smoker, he used the herb in his food, allowing him to stop using Ibuprofen.

Miss Wyborn added: “It was not a pleasant experience to go and buy cannabis at an unsavoury location from an unsavoury sort. It was very embarrassing.”

“He took the decision to research it online and took the decision to grow it at home. He was very honest and very candid with the police.

“Now he has been brought to court he is very ashamed and embarrassed by the whole situation.

“He has found an alternative source from Holland and Barratt which contains cannabis oil and is a legal substance.”

Mr Voce received at the lower end of the sentencing guidelines with a one-year conditional discharge, ordered to pay £85 prosecution costs and ironically a £20 victim surcharge, as well as the Magistrate ordering the destruction of his growing equipment. Quite who this victim is was not made apparent by the Court, as far as we can see, Malcolm Voce, is the only victim, both by having been burgled and then having his medicine stolen by government agents in uniforms, as well as being hauled through the British courts.

Unsurprisingly, the police never actually caught the burglar who broke into his house. Over 21,000 police officers have been axed by Tory austerity, yet some forces still waste time on cannabis prosecutions, rather than crimes with an actual victim, such as, say, burglary.

Photo of Nottingham Magistrates Court with where presiding Magistrate, Roger Speakman, sits.

No justice from Magistrate Roger Speakman at Nottingham Magistrates Court.

In addition to the shame of being taken to Court in his retirement, Mr Voce, was also humiliated into telling a load of crap to the presiding Magistrate Roger Speakman who told him: “I think the embarrassment and shame are the least of your worries right now. However, we have decided to take into account the circumstances.

“We accept you have been foolishly growing this for personal use. We accept you recognise the error of your ways and accept, perhaps unusually, that you have no intention of repeating this mistake.

“I am sorry you have found this a distressing experience but you brought it upon yourself. There were alternatives and you could have researched that before you broke the law.”

I call bullshit!

Perhaps presiding Magistrate Roger Speakman has been reading a little bit too much of the Daily Mail or maybe he doesn’t know himself how to use a computer to research stuff on the Internet.

The alternative legal cannabis-derived product from Holland and Barratt is CBD oil, which will not be very effective at all to treat his ailments, he needs proper natural THC containing cannabis that will also have a range of other cannabinoids, including CBD.

Magistrate Roger Speakman’s assertion that were alternatives to the cannabis plants Malcolm was using to treat his pain is bollocks. Far from “foolishly growing for personal use”, I maintain he was sensibly growing his own medicine. As far as I can see the only fool around here is Magistrate Roger Speakman.

GW Pharmaceuticals and British Sugar will of course never find themselves in Court for their massive weed grow ops and cannabis-based medicines that have dodgy financial links to our prohibitionist Prime Minister and drug dealer in chief, Theresa May.

This story comes at a time when much of social media is getting excited in the mistaken belief the British government is about to legalise medical cannabis. They are not, they are merely going to allow a limited number of doctors to prescribe a few more Big Pharma cannabis-derived products that will be as far away as possible from the natural herb Malcolm Voce was innocently growing in his own house to make edibles to medicate with. Furthermore, the chances of him being prescribed medical cannabis in the future are slim to zero and even if he did succeed, it would cost the NHS a fortune to provide a corporate cannabis product for Tory profit when Mr Voce was happy to grow it at his own expense.

The failed war on some people who use some drugs is not over yet, as demonstrated by this appalling case where an elderly law-abiding citizen was arrested, prosecuted and taken to court for growing a plant that helped him live in less pain. If you think the Tories are changing the law to help your average medicinal cannabis consumer, then I have a bridge to sell you.


Chris Bovey, writer and musician.

Chris Bovey is a businessman, writer, musician and practical joker. He lives in Devon with his partner, two children and cat.

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