A pot-smoking Sheffield political campaigner who said taking drugs is his ‘God-given right’ has been convicted of drugs possession.
Andrew Kitson, aged 37, of Townhead Street, faced a two-day trial at Sheffield Crown Court, where he denied possessing cannabis and psilocin, or ‘magic mushrooms,’ on two occasions.
Police originally went to Kitson’s flat on January 6 after claims he had been illegally abstracting electricity.
When arrested at his city centre flat, he refused to answer to his name and said: “I am the Living Witness.”
The former IT and bank worker later told officers: “I don’t recognise the courts or the statutes.”
Chloe Hudson, prosecuting, said Kitson was initially reluctant to open the door to the officers but eventually opened it slightly.
“They asked if he was Andrew Kitson and he told them he did not recognise the name and to do so would be contracting with the state,” said Miss Hudson.
Kitson told the court that he believes names are ‘artificial’ and asked to be addressed by the judge, court officials and the prosecutor as ‘Andrew of the family Kitson’ or ‘Andrew’ for short.
On a second visit by police on March 15 he again failed to answer to his name so he was handcuffed and detained.
While being searched, he produced five small bags from his pocket containing the magic mushrooms and told the police officers: “I don’t think you are going to like these.”
He told the officers he did not recognise the law which said he could not use the drug.
“I have a religious and spiritual right to take them.
“It is my God-given right to put this into my body,” Kitson told them.
Kitson said he did not consent to the Government’s jurisdiction so its laws did not apply to him.
The defendant was allowed to sit in the courtroom on a lawyer’s bench at Sheffield Crown Court as he represented himself.
He told the jury: “You have been given an opportunity to create law today.”
But the jury took just 26 minutes to return the guilty verdict.
Judge Graham Robinson adjourned sentence until Kitson is tried over the allegation that he dishonestly abstracted electricity at his home, which he denies.
The judge told the jury after the verdict was delivered: “The flexibility of the legal system can accommodate people who hold beliefs which some of us find strange.”