Judge apologises to Calne man for court paperwork errors
A judge has apologised to a man for not being able to sentence him for growing cannabis because the justices got the paperwork wrong.
Thomas Wright was due to learn his fate after admitting growing 42 of the plants at his top floor flat in Calne.
But the memorandum of conviction from North West Wilts Magistrates, sitting at Chippenham, got the charge wrong.
Judge Douglas Field said the Court of Appeal had warned circuit judges about the dangers of trying to take a practical line and correct perceived errors.
Wright, 24, of Pym House, The Knapp, had initially been charged with production of the class B drug at his home on Tuesday June 26.
When he appeared before the justices on Friday August 24 prosecutors changed the wording of the charge to state he had 42 plants of the drug.
However the documents drawn up at the magistrates, showing he had been convicted and sent to the crown court for sentencing, did not reflect what he had pleaded to.
Colin Meeke, prosecuting, told the judge the paperwork from the magistrates court cited a 'Class C drug' and omitted the quantity of plants.
"It has not been a class C drug for some time now," he said adding he was seeing a senior clerk later that day and would bring it up face to face.
Judge Field said he was left with no option but to send the case back so it could be committed correctly and continued Wright's bail.
He told him: "There are mistakes on the face of the memorandum of your conviction in the magistrates court which I can't sort out and I am going to have to remit you back to the magistrates on a date to be fixed which will be notified to you by your solicitor.
"I am sorry that you have been brought here today for an ineffective hearing."
Wright was arrested after PC Hans Monahan and colleagues were visiting the Green Square Housing Association could smell the drug coming from his flat.
Inside they found a hydroponics unit with watering and lighting for the plants, which were growing in one of the rooms along with foliage which was being dried.