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Monday, January 12, 1998 Published at 19:52 GMT


Cabinet Minister's son cautioned
image: [ 17 year-old William Straw receives a police caution ]
17 year-old William Straw receives a police caution

The son of the British Home Secretary, Jack Straw, who faced criminal proceedings after allegedly selling cannabis to an undercover reporter, has been cautioned by police.

William Straw, 17, was accused of selling 1.92 grams of cannabis resin to a journalist from The Mirror newspaper.

The reporter, Dawn Alford, had herself been questioned by police for possession of the drug, a move that outraged the paper's editor.

[ image: Dawn Alford will not be prosecuted]
Dawn Alford will not be prosecuted
Scotland Yard has informed Ms Alford through the paper's lawyer that no action will be taken against her.

Given the small quantity of drugs involved, the BBC's legal affairs correspondent Joshua Rosenberg said it was not surprising the police were not taking stronger action against William Straw.

He said: "There was a lot of talk about the fact that the police didn't consider that there was enough evidence to bring a prosecution.

"What seems to have happened is that Jack Straw and his son William went to a police station in South London. William Straw received a formal caution - meaning in effect that he admitted the truth of the allegations against him - and that's the end of the matter as far he is concerned."

In a statement, Mr Straw, whose responsibilities include law and order enforcement, appealed to the media for continued restraint.

He said: "William is now learning the lessons of this episode and he has of course my full support in doing so."

Mr Straw said he was grateful for the restraint shown towards his son by most of the media. He added that he has no plans to make any further comment about William.


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