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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 December, 2004, 13:28 GMT
Magic mushroom directive 'fudged'
Magic mushrooms
The case turned on the ambiguity of a Home Office advice letter
Two men accused of selling chilled magic mushrooms from their shop have been told the current law is too "fudged" to put them on trial.

Colin Evans, 57, of Kingston Road, Slimbridge, and Dennis Mardle, 52, of Southgate Street, Gloucester, were arrested in March.

Recorder Claire Miskin said: "I take the view that the Home Office circular is fudged."

She said to put them on trial amounted to a breach of their human rights.

The two men were arrested on suspicion of possessing Class A drugs with intent to supply from Collector's Choice record shop in Southgate Street in Gloucester.

Selling fresh hallucinogenic mushrooms is not illegal. They can be sold in an 'as-picked state'.

Chemical make-up

Prosecuting, Phillip Warren told Recorder Miskin that it was because the defendants were found with mushrooms chilling in a fridge that they were facing trial for selling 'prepared' - and therefore illegal - mushrooms.

This is a case where Parliament has left a gap and that gap ought really to be filled by Parliament and not by the decision of the courts
Recorder Claire Miskin

The legality of cooling, or storing the fungi in a fridge has not been tested.

A Home Office circular tells potential vendors: "In the light of earlier cases it would be for the courts to determine whether chilling mushrooms in a fridge would constitute altering them in any way."

Susan Evans, defending, said the case turned on the ambiguity of the Home Office letter, adding that experts agree chilling the mushrooms "in no way altered the chemical make-up of the mushrooms".

Recorder Miskin said: "I decide that this is a case where Parliament has left a gap and it seems to me that that gap ought really to be filled by Parliament and not by the decision of the courts."




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