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Pembroke Dock: Cannabis pensioner gets suspended sentence

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Swansea Crown Court

Swansea Crown Court

A PENSIONER who has fought a 30 year campaign to be allowed to use cannabis as a medicine has received a suspended prison sentence on Tuesday (Dec 9). The retired oil refinery supervisor, has previously served two prison sentences while taking on the government in a bid for those suffering chronic pain to be allowed to take cannabis for pain relief.

Eric Mann, aged 71, who believes cannabis can be used to treat even cancer, admitted producing the drug and to supplying it sick people.

Mann, of Harbour Way, Pembroke Dock, had earlier told the court he would fight the charges on the grounds that it was his human right to be free of pain.

But on the day his trial was due to begin at Swansea crown court he changed his pleas to guilty to charges of producing cannabis and to supplying cannabis oil.

Judge Paul Thomas told Mann that, like everyone else, the law of the land had to be obeyed and no-one could pick and choose which ones to abide by.

Gareth Mann: Avoided jail this time (Pic - BBC)

Gareth Mann: Avoided jail this time (Pic: BBC)

Ian Ibrahim, representing Mann, said he had been a coal miner and a construction site supervisor until he was forced to retire because of severe arthritis.

He self medicated himself and began to take cannabis, which, he said, relieved the pain.

Mr Ibrahim said police found 21 small cannabis plants and five jars of cannabis oil at the defendant’s home last year and in another raid this summer found he been producing cannabis again.

“The defendant regards himself as a care giver and looks upon cannabis as a medicine allowing him to break the law,” added Mr Ibrahim.

Mann had claimed to have developed a way of removing the psycho-active element of cannabis so users would get the benefit but not get “high.”

The court heard Mann had numerous previous convictions relating to cannabis.

He told the court personally, “I worked all my life and when I got ill I tried conventional drugs but they didn’t work. One drug I was using was withdrawn because people were killing themselves after becoming suicidal on it.

“When you’re in pain all the time and you can’t even put your socks on or make a cup of tea or anything life isn’t worth living but I found I could function through the use of cannabis as a medicine.”

Mann was jailed for 12 months, suspended for 12 months, and placed under supervision.

Judge Thomas told him, “Week in, week out in these courts see the effects cannabis has on people, particularly on their mental state. Whatever your views, cannabis does effect people’s minds, that is my experience and there is very good medical opinion as to why people should not take cannabis.

“I think you genuinely consider you are helping yourself and can do a service to others and that cannabis can cure or at least have a beneficial effect on cancer sufferers. But the vast proportion of medical opinion is that you are misguided in that and you are deluding yourself and others.”

The judge added he hoped Mann would now look at alternative methods of pain relief.

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Judith Rhead murder investigation – Detectives given more time to question suspect

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POLICE have been given more time to question a 43-year-old man arrested on suspicion of murder.

The man has been in police custody since Saturday night, after being arrested over the death 68-year-old Judith Rhead.

She was found in a residential property in Market Street.

The police now have until Thursday afternoon (Feb 25) to question the suspect.

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All people eligible for vaccination will get theirs by end of July

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PEOPLE eligible for the coronavirus vaccine will get theirs by the end of July, the Health Minister has said.

Wales achieved its target of getting everyone in the first four priority groups vaccinated by the middle of February and is now working on offering the vaccine to those in groups 5 to 9.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has set out that people with severe or profound learning disabilities or with a mental illness will be among priority group 6.

Mr Gething said that they were would make sure that no one is left behind.

The latest figures from Public Health Wales show that 878,506 people had received their first dose of the vaccine.

59,279 people have received both doses of the vaccine.

Vaughan Gething, Minister for Health and Social Services, said: “We have achieved our first milestone of offering everyone in the first four priority groups vaccination by mid-February.

“We are now making progress in achieving our next milestone, which is to offer the vaccine to all individuals in priority groups 5 to 9.

“The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has set out that people with a severe/profound learning disability and individuals with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, or any mental illness that causes severe functional impairment, should be invited for vaccination as part of priority group 6.

“There are challenges with identifying individuals within these groups, particularly given the JCVI language is not generally in use in Wales, and we are working hard to make sure that no one is left behind. Today we have published guidance on identifying eligible individuals in these groups and on how to support them to take up their vaccine offers.

“The JCVI has also said that some of our invaluable unpaid carers should be included in priority group 6.

“Today we have also published guidance on identifying those unpaid carers eligible for vaccine prioritisation and the process around this. I am grateful to the national carers’ organisations for their support with this work.”

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Council want your help to keep Pembrokeshire active

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PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL is asking residents to give their views on local walking and cycling routes.

The Council aims to make journeys on foot and by bicycle easier, safer and more enjoyable for everyone.

In order to design a network that works for all, the Council would like to get the views of as many people as possible, particularly those who don’t currently walk or cycle. This will help ensure the routes built for walking and cycling work for the whole community.

The consultation focuses on the main towns and villages in Pembrokeshire which have been selected by Welsh Government as the designated localities in the County. These are:

  • Fishguard & Goodwick
  • Haverfordwest
  • Johnston
  • Milford Haven
  • Neyland
  • Pembroke Dock
  • Pembroke
  • Tenby
  • Saundersfoot
  • Narberth

Pembrokeshire Council is currently undertaking an Active Travel Network Map consultation (ATNM) which will run in 3 stages

Consultation 1: Residents can take part in the consultation exercise online, hosted by Commonplace at https://Pembrokeshire.commonplace.is/

The interactive map allows participants to flag issues, problems and successes on a plan of the active travel settlement and add comments. Such points could be for example, a pavement that is too narrow or a newly built cycle route that is regarded as a success.

The first stage of the consultation will close on 31 st March 2021.

Consultation 2: Following this, the second step of the consultation will see the Council share the initial findings and ask people what they think of the plans
proposed as a result of the feedback received.

Consultation 3: The third stage of the consultation will give members of the public a final say on the Active Travel Network Maps before they are sent to Welsh Government for approval. These maps will have been produced taking into account public feedback and ideas from consultations 1 and 2.

By upgrading facilities and creating new walking and cycling routes, the Council plans to make Active Travel the popular choice for local journeys, to increase the attractiveness of local communities as places to live and work, improve health and well-being, and help tackle air pollution.

Cllr Phil Baker, Pembrokeshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, said: “This consultation exercise will produce an Active Travel Network Map which will be a plan of routes the Council will use to inform where improvements to walking and cycling should be made in Pembrokeshire.

“It will help to make journeys on foot or by bicycle easier and safer for everyone, particularly those who don’t currently walk or cycle often and people who use mobility aids and will build on the increased level of walking and cycling that we have seen over the last 12 months during the pandemic.”

See more information on Active Travel at: https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/fitness-and-well-being/active-travel

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