Arrested at Parliament 2018, 2019
By Kevin John Braid – 2020
Last month I reported how Bud Buddies founder, Jeff Ditchfield had all charges dropped against him by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), after he accepted UK lawmaker, Paul Flynn’s, invitation to break the law outside Parliament.
Paul Flynn MP specifically asked people to come to Parliament to break the law to see what happens. Jeff did just that by supplying the mother of a terminally ill child with a cannabis based medicine and was subsequently arrested by the police.
Jeff was not informed of his Court appearance date by email, which was agreed by the arresting officer. This resulted in Jeff missing the Court date, because the summons was sent to his address in Jamaica where he is resident, instead of by e-mail, as requested and is an acceptable means of notification in UK Criminal Procedure Rules. Jeff was in Spain on the day he learned he was supposed to be in Court.
He was informed he could potentially be arrested upon his return to the UK since a warrant has been issued for his arrest for his non-show that was entirely the fault of the police. Fortunately, that did not happen, however, Jeff handed himself into a police station in Wales where he was held in the cells overnight and then taken on a very uncomfortable ride in a small cage to London.
He then spent several hours in the cells only to be released as the CPS told him they didn’t think there was a realistic chance of a prosecution.
When Jeff was initially arrested last year he was released from the police station at an unearthly hour, with no money, as they held onto £895 of his cash, which they have to date not returned to him.
The police denied his request to give him a little bit of his money for transport costs. By chance, Jeff was fortunate enough to find a taxi driver who sympathised with his predicament and took a leap of faith by taking him on a £70 taxi trip to one of his friend’s house who paid the driver upon arrival.
Last week, Paul Flynn’s bill to legalise medical cannabis came again before Parliament for a Second Reading, where unsurprisingly, it didn’t get very far. Jeff again accepted the Labour MP’s invitation to break the law outside Parliament and was arrested yet again by a police officer at precisely 4.20 pm.
He was held in the cells, this time being released at 2am in the morning after eventually being told again they were not charging him as it was “not in the public interest”
I spoke to Jeff who told me
“The CPS have twice decided it is not in the public interest to take me to Crown Court, after accepting Mr Flynn’s invitations to break law outside Parliament.
“Many people were outside smoking cannabis, apparently in a designated area, yet I was arrested while giving an interview, outside Parliament.
“A British Member of Parliament asked people to break the law outside Parliament, which a large amount of people did without getting arrested. However, I was arrested, I told the police what it was I was under possession of and of my intention to plead ‘not guilty’ in a Crown Court.
“I was urged to plead guilty at the Magistrates, but when I opted to plead ‘not guilty’ at Crown Court, the CPS prosecutor informed me they intended to offer no evidence and seek permission from the judge to discontinue proceedings, which the judge duly obliged.
“I was yet again arrested after accepting Paul Flynn MP’s invitation to break the law outside Parliament during the second reading of his bill. I was released without charge approximately ten hours laters being told a prosecution was “not in the public interest”.
“‘I am seeking legal advice to sue the Metropolitan police for wrongful arrest and will keep you updated,” said Jeff Ditchfield.