Pubdate: Wed, 31 Mar 2004
Source: Hull Daily Mail (UK)
Copyright: 2004 Northcliffe Newspapers Group Ltd


A Pro-cannabis campaigner protesting over his arrest for possession of the
drug is to face a Crown Court trial.

Carl Wagner, 45, is to be tried at Hull Crown Court on charges of
cultivating four cannabis plants and possessing cannabis leaves and resin.

But he has vowed not to enter a plea in protest at a law he describes as

Police in riot gear raided Mr Wagner's Victoria Square home, off Ella
Street, Hull, on December 15, and conducted a thorough search.

He refused to accept a police caution in relation to the offences.

Since then, however, the campaigner has also declined to enter a plea in

At an earlier hearing, District Judge Frederick Rutherford gave Mr Wagner
the option of a trial at Hull Magistrates' Court or at the crown court -
where penalties are higher.

Mr Wagner chose the costly procedure of going to crown court, where total
court costs run to around UKP 9,000 per day.

Magistrates adjourned the case for a hearing at Hull Crown Court.

Defence costs would have run to around UKP 1,500 for a two-day trial.

However, Mr Wagner announced he would be defending himself to save the
taxpayer footing his legal aid bill.

Mr Wagner said: "When I go to the crown court and am asked for a plea I will
still refuse to give one in protest of a law which I believe is corrupt.

"I'm going to give it my best shot and show that I think what the police did
to me is an abuse of power.

"I will defend myself using Human Rights law claiming what the police did
violated my right to privacy.

"Going to court is not something I want to do but I believe the law is still

Mr Wagner said his family, including young children, were upset by the
police raid on his house.

He said that the police had turned his house "upside down" and said his
family were still scarred by their memories of the event.

During the past two years, Mr Wagner has become a well-known face at Hull's
indoor Trinity Market where he runs a stall selling hemp and
cannabis-related products.

And in the last General Election he stood as a Legalise Cannabis Alliance
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