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Last Updated: Friday, 26 January 2007, 13:03 GMT
Chocolate drugs trio spared jail
From left, Lezley and Mark Gibson, Marcus Davies
Cash receipts totalling 30,000 were seized by police
Three people have each been given a nine-month suspended jail term for supplying cannabis-laced chocolate bars to multiple sclerosis (MS) sufferers.

Mark Gibson, his wife Lezley, both 42, of Alston, Cumbria and Marcus Davies, 36, of St Ives, Cambs, were earlier convicted of conspiracy to supply.

The couple admitted making thousands of "Canna-Biz" bars and sending them to MS sufferers around the world.

Davies admitted running an associated website and post office box.

In their testimonies, the Cumbrian couple insisted they offered a free service funded by voluntary donations, which was only available to MS sufferers who provided a medical note confirming their condition.

Davies had denied any involvement in making or posting the chocolate.

'Very disappointed'

Cash receipts totalling 30,000 were seized by police, but Carlisle Crown Court heard Lezley Gibson told officers these referred to donations, which were ploughed "straight back in" to fund the operation.

All three said they believed they had a defence of medical necessity in supplying the bars, but this was rejected by the jury.

Outside court, Mrs Gibson, herself a MS sufferer, said she was very disappointed at the judge's ruling.

She said: "I was devastated when we were found guilty and this decision has broken me again.

"I still don't think I've done anything wrong. How can it be wrong to try and help ill people? What kind of government lets people suffer in this way?

"The people that used to use our service are now forced to go to the street dealers and buy contaminated cannabis."

'Commercial enterprise'

The Gibsons said they were planning to appeal against their conviction.

Cumbria's Chief Crown Prosecutor, Claire Lindley, said: "The investigation showed this enterprise to be a commercial one, with payment being received for the majority of transactions.

"The police sought advice from the Crown Prosecution Service before any charge was brought against any of the defendants.

"The then chief crown prosecutor, David Farmer, considered all the evidence and concluded that there was sufficient evidence to proceed and that the public interest required a prosecution in this case."

See more on cannabis chocolate bar trio

Cannabis accused 'did no wrong'
06 Dec 06 |  England
Trio 'posted cannabis chocolate'
05 Dec 06 |  England
'Cannabis chocolate' jury chosen
04 Dec 06 |  England

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