Doctor's trial 'not cannabis test case'

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The Independent Online
A JUDGE yesterday told jurors to acquit a doctor accused of supplying cannabis to her sick daughter if they accepted that she had done so because she feared that otherwise her daughter would suffer serious harm, or die.

But the judge at the trial of Dr Ann Biezanek warned the jury at Liverpool Crown Court that it was not a test case about legalising the drug.

The recorder, Paul Reid, said: 'This is not a case which if you find her not guilty will pave the way for legalisation of cannabis, or for the use of cannabis as a therapeutic tool.'

Dr Biezanek, a locum general practioner, of Wallasey, Wirral, Merseyside, has denied five offences involving supplying cannabis, attempting to supply it and possessing it with intent to supply between June 1991 and February last year. The court was told that Dr Biezanek relied on the defence of duress of circumstance. Her daughter, Lucy, 33, has an intractable illness. Dr Biezanek, 65, said she gave her the drug to relieve her symptoms.

Yesterday the judge directed that she should be acquitted 'if she was, or may have been, impelled to act as she did because . . . she had good cause to fear that otherwise death or serious physical or mental harm would result'.

John McDermott, for the defence, told the court that Dr Biezanek had not dreamt up a ploy of inventing a mythical defence after being caught. She had supplied the drug because she genuinely feared for her daughter's safety.

The jury is expected to retire today to consider its verdicts.

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