Cannabis grower in bid for freedom from prison

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A CANNABIS grower who claims he needs the drug to treat chronic pain from an amputated foot could now find himself at the centre of an Appeal Court test case.

In what a top judge described as an ‘obviously significant case’, Gary Brearley, from Barnsley, is challenging a nine-month jail term he was handed earlier this month.

The 45-year-old, who pleaded guilty, was jailed by Judge Alan Goldsack QC at Sheffield Crown Court.

But now his is one of eight cases set to go before Appeal Court judges, who will be asked to lay down sentencing guidelines for small-scale cannabis farmers who produce the drug for their own use.

At a preliminary hearing this week, Guy Wyatt, for Brearley, told Mr Justice Haddon-Cave: “This is a man who clearly should not be in custody.”

The court heard Brearley, who has a three-year-old child, set up a cannabis farm at the back of his garage and was in the process of cropping his six plants when police raided his home.

Mr Wyatt said the former Territorial Army soldier’s right lower leg had to be amputated following a motorbike accident and, stricken by phantom pains in his missing foot, his cannabis use had been ‘self-medication’.

He said, because the drugs were for personal use, Brearley should been given a suspended sentence, claiming a jail term was ‘excessive’.

Brearley’s case is listed to be heard with seven others before three Appeal Court judges in May, but his legal team may seek Brearley’s release on bail prior to the hearing.