This isn’t an error in the law, rather in the CPS

But there have been calls for a review of the law after the first prosecutions involving laughing gas were dismissed by the trial judge, following successful legal challenges.

The wide-ranging law banning so-called legal highs came into force in May 2017 to stamp out the distribution, sale and supply of substances capable of producing a psychoactive effect.

A number of substances, including alcohol, tobacco, caffeine and medical products were excluded from the legislation.

Last month two men accused of trying to sell nitrous oxide at the Glastonbury music festival walked free from court after their lawyer argued the gas was exempt from the new psychoactive substance legislation, because it was also used for medical purposes.

Earlier this week a second case, involving an alleged supplier in London, also collapsed after the prosecution’s own expert witness admitted nitrous oxide was exempt under the current legislation.

Maybe MPs did mean to ban nitrous oxide. But the entire point of the CPS is to have someone deciding what should be prosecuted. And they should, above all, know what the actual law is.

15 thoughts on “This isn’t an error in the law, rather in the CPS”

  1. They are too busy with ‘hate crime’ and trying to prevent men for being able to mount a defence against rape accusations to worry about little details like that….

  2. To an extent court cases such as this are necessary as in our system the courts are there to determine what the law means rather than what the law says.

    …But I agree that the fault here lies with the CPS (as it so often does).

    Now let’s see what happens to all the cases where people pleaded guilty for nitrous oxide offences, and were jailed. It is in the higher courts that precedents are set, and they are where these appeals will be heard.

  3. I don’t understand the need for a broad ‘medical use’ exemption, which (if you believe reports) tripped up the N2O case. Heroin has a legitimate medical use (as diamorphine).

  4. Thnaks to the evil restrictions on legal aid and costs, the CPS doesn’t need a conviction to punish you. The accusation and process is the punishment.

  5. @Chris Miller: I wondered that, is heroin banned by some other law as well? Otherwise it would seem that they have legalised it by mistake……………

  6. The law itself is brainless , bansturbatory , badly blocked out bullshit. Supposed to stop legal highs. Which are now part of the drugs trade with all the problems that brings. Hopefully enough court cases will destroy the nonsense entirely.

    One more charge to hopefully be read out at the Fish Faced Hags hanging.

  7. It is just possible that the cases were prosecuted on the basis that the allegation was that the defendants believed the substances to be something else – thus, they believed they were administering noxious substances, even if the were wrong about that.

    But I don’t have time to check the law on this point, to see whether knowledge/belief are defences, so this is pure speculation on my part …

  8. @Jim
    AFAIK heroin remains a Class A drug. This new legislation was intended to cover ‘legal highs’ – new chemicals, magic mushrooms etc etc.

  9. @ Edward Lud: You might be thinking of one of the opening scenes in ‘A Few Good Men’:

    Lieutenant Dave Spradling: I’m going to charge him with possession and being under the influence while on duty. You plead guilty, I recommend thirty days in the brig with loss of rank and pay.

    Kaffee: It was oregano, Dave. It was ten dollars’ worth of oregano.

    Lieutenant Dave Spradling: Yeah, but your client thought it was marijuana.

    Kaffee: My client’s a moron. That’s not against the law.

    Lieutenant Dave Spradling: Kaffee, I have people to answer to, just like you do. I’m going to charge him.

    Kaffee: With what? Possession of a condiment?

  10. I don’t know how it is in the States, Julia, but here it’s a bit more complicated than that. Sometimes, tragicomedy abounds as a result.

  11. The reason I have my doubts about the CPS is stupid angle in this case (as distinct from many others in which it is undoubtedly stupid) is that i’s lawyers would’ve have known before ever going into court exactly what their expert was going to say.

  12. Where do they get off, banning any substance that produces a “psychoactive effect”? Simple enjoyment is a psychoactive effect. Is ice cream illegal now? Who the fuck gave government the right to say what a person may or may not ingest or inhale?

  13. Bloke in North Dorset

    When I was a recruit at the we had a lad thrown out for smoking pot. It turned it was Oxo but the point, was he thought he was taking drugs.

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