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NORML President's trial date set 8 February 2002

National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, NZ Inc. http://www.norml.org.nz norml@apc.org.nz NORML Annual Conference: Wellington September 15-16 2001

Press Release: 11 September 2001

NORML President's trial date set 8 February 2002

http://www.norml.org.nz/News/chrisfowliebusted.htm

NORML's President, Chris Fowlie, appeared in the Auckland District Court today for a hearing relating to a criminal charge of possession of cannabis, and was remanded at large for a trial on Friday 8 February 2002.

The trial is set down for a full day and several witnesses will be called.

Police offered Mr Fowlie a Diversion on the night of the arrest and again today at court, but they would not withdraw the charge.

The Police Diversion scheme involves pleading guilty and accepting a punishment decided by the police in exchange for police withdrawing the charges.

Chris Fowlie refuses to accept a Diversion. "I am not a criminal or guilty of anything that should be a crime, and I was searched unreasonably and unlawfully."

On June 17 2001 Chris Fowlie was conversing with a friend on Auckland's Karangahape Road when approached by members of the Team Policing Unit, who had been searching another man down the street. The search provisions of the Misuse of Drugs Act were invoked and Mr Fowlie was arrested.

The arrest came days after Mr Fowlie returned from the first hearings of Parliament's Cannabis Inquiry in Wellington.

"The inquiry was told that police do not go around looking for cannabis smokers to bust, yet that is exactly what these officers were doing. Everyone else in the wagon had been arrested for possession of cannabis and the officers seemed very pleased with themselves," said Mr Fowlie.

"The police should not go around breaking people's rights and performing arbitrary searches for victimless crimes while leaving serious crimes unsolved. The real crime is that it takes the equivalent of almost 150 full-time police officers to arrest a cannabis smoker every 24 minutes on average in New Zealand."

Chris Fowlie is the incumbent President of NORML NZ, and is standing for re-election again at this year's Annual General Meeting, to be held in Trade's Hall in Wellington this coming weekend, 15-16 September 2001.

Cannabis activists from throughout the nation will be converging on Wellington, proclaimed by the Evening Post as "the safest place to smoke a joint" (May 31 2001), to plan campaign tactics for the next year including this trial and the lead up to the general election.

More information about Chris Fowlie's trial is at: http://www.norml.org.nz/News/chrisfowliebusted.htm

Contact Chris Fowlie on 09 3025255 or 025 2976843

- ends -


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