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The UK Activist ‘Changing Cannabis Laws’ Successfully

Q+A Transcript:

How can you change the law in court?

You can't take the government to court because the laws are unjust, but the outcome of a series of strategic litigations can force the law to change - that’s what I’m doing.

My team and I have sent over 500 Freedom of Information (FOI) requests to a number of government departments since 2019.

We’ve uncovered a good amount but got to the point where some of the information we were requesting would reveal serious corruption and injustice - so the department stopped supplying certain information that they’re legally required to provide. A successful (but boring) judicial review would make the information available to us, which enables us to start a large group litigation (which can include crazy amounts of evidence).

I quickly found that legal action wouldn’t be taken seriously without instructing a well regarded team of lawyers (which also helps with communication). I was advised that because we’re spending money on the larger court actions but starting with a judicial review, we should look through all the information we’ve already obtained from the departments before starting the review. They send a lot of lengthy documents so it’s easy to miss key evidence we can use as a defence - which is exactly what happened.

What's the best evidence you’ve got?

There’s lots of ‘evidence’ we’ll be submitting in our final case. This is evidence that I can show people personally but can’t release to the public yet, which would be more frustrating if we didn’t have our current defences in place to avoid criminal charges for cannabis use and possession.

I was made aware that police corruption videos (if we have any) may be dismissed for any court actions. As well as the potentially disposable evidence, we have lots of documents, statements and emails that will be admissible and prove our claims beyond any doubt.

It feels crazy knowing we have solid evidence from a government department that proves cannabis use and possession isn’t illegal if you simply say the right things. I’ve got a video coming out before Christmas that shows you what I’m talking about.

I can also tell you that the Crown Prosecution Service understands that if everyone uses our defences, the courts will not be able to cope.

What are your legal services?

An issue I had with setting so much aside for the court actions was that it doesn’t help people who are in trouble now. The final court date could be months away. The laws are affecting people's lives, jobs and families now and every day. People were contacting me for help so I knew I had to sort something.

Outlaw Legal Aid is a service I set up that covers people's legal costs (up to a certain amount) and uses lawyers I trust. Sometimes you might need a solicitor instructed, you might need assistance defending yourself, or you might just need some legal advice.

We’re technically the largest group of award winning solicitors in the UK - that's mad.

Outlaw Prosecution Service helps people sue unlawful police. We can instruct a solicitor for larger cases, or just guide you through the process - most claims are settled out of court anyway.

These aren’t legal services but ‘Policing The Police’ is my best-selling book that's helped people sue unlawful police for over £40,000 collectively. ‘Fed Defence’ is my free app that helps a person know the law on the spot, educate the police and ensure they’re doing their job lawfully.

What success have you had?

We’ve been consistently securing acquittals for people who get in contact.

An acquittal is great - you avoid all charges, criminal records, driving bans and fines - it doesn’t help everyone who’s affected by the unjust laws though. Ideally I want the law changing, not loads of defences.

Securing an acquittal before a Magistrates hearing isn’t recorded in the same way as after a trial. What's known as a legal precedent is the best way to ‘change how the law is used’ without actually changing the law or taking any legal action. Although it could require a costly appeal, with so many cases ongoing we’re confident we’ll get a really good ‘not guilty’ precedent soon - potentially even before we get our main court date.

How did you get your team together?

I rang a lot of people! I don’t have ‘solicitors working for me’, they work for other firms and are happy to allow an Outlaw member to use my prepaid account to cover their legal fees. When we instruct a solicitor you’re getting a really high quality service.

People already know that it's important to know what to tell the police, but it’s equally important to know what to say to your solicitor - some are terrible (and we don’t use them).

How can you endlessly fund this?

I’m a music producer and I do a lot of work. Other than that I sell a few bits and any support on the online store helps massively because I fund all this myself.

I’m not naive - most of my team of solicitors are only going to be here while I’m paying them but that's just what it is!

What advice would you give to someone challenging the laws?

It can get complicated but don’t challenge the law in court, defend yourself.

People online advise different approaches. Lots of people want to challenge the law when they’re in court which is understandable. The laws are wrong, but challenging the law is not a defence and you won't get far without an expensive appeal.

Don’t say much to the police. When it comes to going to court, I would dispute everything (accepting nothing) and request evidence for every claim made, without challenging the law.

Contact Outlaw Legal Aid if you have any issues and I’ll do everything I can to cover all the legal fees and get assistance for you.

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