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Registered: 07/06/10
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UK: Teacher avoids jail after second drugs offence
    #445763 - 07/13/10 08:49 AM (7 years, 9 months ago)

Stroud News and Journal

Monday 12 Jul 2010

A TEACHER who grew cannabis to supply to friends with medical conditions has avoided a jail term.

Dr Eric Fowler, 55, of Bowbridge, Stroud, walked free from Gloucester Crown Court on Thursday, July 8, despite admitting cultivating cannabis at his home for a second time after being raided and arrested last November.

Judge William Hart gave Fowler a 40-week jail term suspended for 18-months and ordered him to do 100 hours of unpaid work.

He also imposed an electronically tagged curfew requiring Fowler to remain at home between 10pm-6am for the next eight weeks.

The court heard from prosecutor Lisa Hennessy that police raided Fowler's home on November 13 last year and found 16 plants and 26 small seedlings capable of producing £9,000 worth of the drug.

There was also hydroponic growing equipment and dried cannabis worth £2,500.

Fowler told police he grew the drug to supply ‘for medicinal purposes’ but not for profit.

He was later charged and bailed with officers seizing all the cannabis and equipment.

However, when police searched Flower’s for a second time on May 21, they discovered he was again producing cannabis and had set up two growing rooms and a drying room with eight plants and 24 seedlings.

Mrs Hennessy told the court that Flower admitted production of the drug one month after his initial arrest and said both prosecution and defence agreed that Fowler, a private tutor, had benefited to the tune of £7,853.

Judge Hart ordered forfeiture of £4,155 in assets under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Reading out his basis of plea, Judge Hart said Flower admitted growing cannabis to supply his own needs and those of six friends who suffer from medical conditions.

Fowler himself suffers from leg pain due to a motorcycle accident and used cannabis to relieve it, he stated.

Ross Parry, defending, handed the court many references for Fowler, who had no previous convictions.

"You can see how important he is to many people locally - it is a tragedy he is before the courts," he said.

"He was very stupid to grow it again after the first arrest.

"He was perhaps blinded by his belief in the benefits of the drug - there are many people who feel strongly that way."

Before passing sentence, Judge Hart said: "Your teaching and tutoring work has been very highly spoken of in the references before me," he said.

"You have now experienced the consequences of breaching the law and the consequences will be much more severe, Dr Fowler, if you breach it again."





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