Cancer sufferer jailed for importing cannabis despite pain relief claims
Jul 30 2009 by Chloe Griffiths, Liverpool Echo
Comment (1)Recommend (3) A CANCER sufferer who claimed he imported more than a kilogram of cannabis to relieve his pain was jailed.
Brian Martin was caught with the stash of the class B drug as he returned from Amsterdam to Liverpool’s John Lennon airport.
He accepted importing the drug, but insisted he bought it for his own use for medicinal purposes to relieve the pain from his illness and the severe treatment he was under.
Martin, 26, was diagnosed with testicular cancer in August last year and was undergoing extensive chemotherapy.
The illness was later discovered to have spread to his stomach.
He told Liverpool crown court yesterday he decided to go on a weekend break to Holland because he was not sure “he would be allowed to go again” and after receiving money for his birthday from his father.
He claimed he bought the drug for about 500 euros during an opportunistic meeting with a dealer.
But his explanation was rejected by Judge David Swift, who said: “The overwhelming inference from what I have heard is that there was a commercial supply at the root of this enterprise.
“I accept you have had a difficult time over recent months as a consequence of your underlying illness and I accept that certainly up until the end of last year, your position was causing you great distress and concern.”
But he added: “These are matters which the court takes very seriously indeed.
“Importation like this inevitably results in custodial sentences.”
He jailed Martin, of Sandhurst, Blundellsands Road East, Blundellsands, for eight months.
Martin looked close to tears and shook his head at his father, who was sat in the public gallery, as he was taken down.
Customs officials at the airport discovered the drug stuffed in Martin’s shoes and luggage as he returned on February 8.
Martin Reid, prosecuting, told the court the drug would have been worth up to £1,500 wholesale and £4,400 if sold to buyers on the streets.
He told the court Martin’s hastily-organised trip, poor financial position and previous drug conviction made it clear he intended to supply the drug.
But Alaric Walmsley, defending, told the court there was no evidence to suggest Martin was dealing and submitted evidence detailing his poor health.
He added: “The best person to give an account of the pain-reliving effect is the defendant himself.”
Martin described how the cannabis had less side-effects than other medication and he feared becoming addicted to other, stronger, prescription drugs.
But Judge Swift said there was no evidence to support his claim the drug helped ease his pain.
It is understood Martin is currently in remission.