Judge wants explanation over driver found with 'huge' stash of cannabis
PUBLISHED: 15:18 29 October 2018
A judge has asked for an explanation from the Crown Prosecution Service as to why a man found with a “huge” amount of cannabis was only charged with possessing the drug and not a more serious offence.
Judge Rupert Overbury said the public had a right to know why Ben Mitcham was only facing a charge of possessing three quarters of a kilo of cannabis and not a more serious charge of possessing the drug with intent to supply.
Mitcham, 21, of Avocet Grove, Soham, was arrested in January after he crashed his car into the wall of a house in Mildenhall when he lost control of the vehicle during a police chase.
Police were contacted by a McDonald’s staff member at the Fiveways roundabout at Barton Mills after she noticed a strong smell of cannabis coming from Mitcham’s car, Ipswich Crown Court heard.
Matthew Sorel-Cameron, prosecuting, said that Mitcham drove past a marked police car near the Fiveways roundabout at speed and officers started following him.
The police car struggled to keep up with Mitcham, who took the Bury Road turning off the roundabout towards Mildenhall.
At one stage he crossed the central white lines in the middle of the road as he overtook a large container lorry and the officers activated the siren and blue flashing lights on their car.
The court heard Mitcham drove at around 60mph in a 30mph limit as he entered Mildenhall and lost control of his car and mounted the pavement before hitting the wall of a house.
He got out of the car and dropped 250g of cannabis as he ran off – and a further 500g of cannabis was found at his home after his arrest.
Mitcham admitted dangerous driving, driving with cannabis over the specified limit, possessing cocaine and possessing cannabis and was due to have been sentenced on Monday.
However, Judge Overbury said he was concerned about the decision to charge Mitcham with possessing cannabis rather than a more serious charge of possession with intent to supply.
He adjourned the case and asked Mr Sorel-Cameron to find out from the Crown Prosecution Service the reason behind the decision.
He said in addition to the cannabis officers had found scales and plastic bags consistent with supply.
The court heard Mitcham told police the cannabis was for his own use.