Pubdate: Wed, 20 Apr 2005
Source: Eastern Daily Press (UK)
Copyright: 2005, Archant Regional
Author: Tom Smithard
Cited: Legalise Cannabis Alliance
Bookmark: (Cannabis)


One General Election candidate's campaign got off to a bad start
today, when a court convicted him of flouting motoring laws.

Yarmouth candidate Michael Skipper, one of two representing the
Legalise Cannabis Alliance in this region, was found guilty less than
24 hours after nominations closed.

But despite the setback, party bosses said they would not be dumping
him -- and Skipper sought to work the guilty verdict to his advantage.

Yarmouth magistrates took 20 minutes to find Skipper, 59, of St
George's Road, Yarmouth, guilty of unlawful waiting following a
morning-long trial.

The court heard from traffic warden Paul Johnson, who said he had
placed a ticket on Skipper's car parked on a double-yellow line last
November 9.

Skipper denied the charge, stating the line was not clear and visible.
He said the fact the borough council had recently removed 'no parking'
posts meant residents were unsure whether they could park there.

Magistrates fined him the UKP 30 fixed penalty plus UKP 20 costs,
having been told Skipper had no income after his bar was shut down
last June.

The candidate lost the licence for the Gallery Bar, underneath his
flat, following a conviction last April for possessing cannabis with
intent to supply.

An undercover police operation discovered Skipper smoking a spliff at
the bar and customers openly rolling joints, with UKP 5 and UKP 10
wraps of cannabis on sale beside crisps and pickled onions.

Outside court today, Skipper said his latest conviction would not be a
setback to his General Election campaign.

He said: "The legalisation of cannabis is part of the wider issue of
dealing with poverty, solving the problems of the worst-off in this

"I think they'll appreciate me standing up to the borough council, who
are victimising people who cannot afford to pay by giving them parking
tickets for no reason."
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