David Steel's son jailed over drugs

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The Independent Online

Scotland Correspondent

The son of Sir David Steel, the former Liberal leader, was jailed for nine months yesterday for growing cannabis at his cottage in the Scottish Borders.

Graeme Steel, 29, admitted growing the illegal drug at his home, Mitchelson Farm, in Stow, Selkirkshire, between April 1993 and October last year. He told police he believed it should be legalised.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard that police found 40 cannabis plants worth up to pounds 30,000 when they raided the cottage following a tip-off. They also found four pipes for smoking cannabis and booklets on how to grow it. Steel admitted producing the drug but said it was for his own use.

Steel's girlfriend, Lynne Turnbull, 28, was cleared at an earlier court appearance after pleading not guilty to a similar charge. Steel appeared in court yesterday for sentencing. Neither Sir David, nor his wife, Lady Steel, attended.

The Judge, Lord Cameron of Lochbroom, told the court he would be failing in his duty if he did not impose a custodial sentence. As he was led to the cells, Steel, sporting a pony-tail, gave a thumbs-up to Miss Turnbull and his supporters.

The proceedings were watched from the public gallery by Rosalind Henderson, 44, the wife of a Scottish lawyer, who is on bail pending an appeal after being jailed for 18 months earlier this year for growing cannabis at her Perthshire home.

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