How would you answer the question: “You are charged with cultivation, possession of and dealing in cannabis. How do you plead?”
To me this invoked a massive moral dilemma as either a ‘guilty’ or a ‘not guilty’ plea implies consent to what amounts an unlawful law. It is reminiscent of the old salesman’s tactic whereby you are given two choices of time slots in which to make an appointment. Neither time slot is preferable to the salesman, as long as he gets you to commit to seeing his presentation.
The plea statement which I was given by Jeremy Acton, leader of Iqela Lentsango, the Dagga Party of South Africa, and which I served on the Howick Magistrates Court, offered an escape from this trap.
Reproduced here in it’s entirety, it is an informative synopsis on the unlawfulness of Dagga prohibition with many substantiating statements and references.
By John Lawrence Strydom
Submitted to the HOWICK Magistrates Court, _______ November 2014 in the serving of these papers Case Number __________, High Court of South Africa, Kwazulu Natal Division, Pietermaritzburg.
I, John Lawrence Strydom, will not plead guilty because it is not morally possible to admit to any alleged crime when
There is no apparent victim of the alleged crime, and
It can and will be shown in defense that the law against Dagga is unjust, and unjustifiable, and is motivated and sponsored by vested corporate money interests and the collusive interests of the State, and by foreign influence upon the State.
These vested interests include the pharmaceutical, fossil fuel, soya, alcohol, tobacco, logging, and biotech industries, and the State itself, which levies duties and taxes on many of the toxic, inferior and environmentally destructive products produced by these industries.
As is my right, and as I have been advised by legal counsel, I therefore refuse to enter a plea of ‘guilty’ and of ‘not guilty’, and instead enter a plea that ” I do not recognise the jurisdiction of this lower court”, as the provisions and presumptions and Constitutionality of the prohibition of dagga are now a matter being questioned and which is pending in the High Courts of South Africa.
I, without reservation, inform this court that the law against Dagga is in violation of the rights of citizens of the Global Cannabis Culture, who claim the right to recognition and protection under the UN Declaration of Human Rights, which is law in South Africa.
(Reference: “THE REPORT. Cannabis: The Facts, Human Rights and the Law” by D’Oudney, K. and D’Oudney, J. published by SRC Publishing, ISBN No 978-1-902848-20-4. )
The law against Dagga violates rights expressed in sections 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 16, 21, 25, 26 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights. (See annexure A to this document, below: UN Declaration of Human Rights. The clauses violated by the law against Dagga are given in bold lettering. The actual rights violated are given in underlined bold italic lettering).
In South Africa the law against Dagga violates the Constitutional rights of citizens of the Dagga Nation, including the rights to freedom of choice, health rights, and spiritual rights. With reference to specific sections of the Bill of Rights, the law against Dagga is in violation of:
Section 9 Equality
10 Human Dignity
12. Freedom and Security of Person
15 Freedom of religion, belief and Opinion
19. Political Right
27 Health care, Food, Water and social security (the emphasis on Health Care and Food)
30 Language and Culture
31 Cultural, religious and linguistic Communities
33 Just Administrative Action
36 Limitation of Rights
39 Interpretation of Bill of Rights
I note that in terms of Section 170 of the Constitution, this lower court is not permitted to inquire into or rule upon the constitutionality of any legislation. This court is therefore not able to give a free and fair hearing to this citizen’s defense.
In view of the above references to the violations of human rights by the law against Dagga, any process that denies these rights, or which declares a citizen guilty without a free and fair hearing is effectively denying justice and defending a rationally unsubstantiated law.
Any case that is withdrawn or dismissed by a court to prevent a defendant from achieving access to the Constitutional Court should also be considered to be against the interests of justice, especially when other citizens are suffering persecution because the application of the law against Dagga, or any other unjust law, is allowed to continue.
The violation of the rights of citizens of the Dagga Culture by the law against Dagga, has the result that all procedures in the Criminal Procedure Act, when applied to Dagga prosecutions, are effectively criminal procedures by the State against its own citizens, and any court which blindly applies the Criminal Procedure Act in relation to Dagga prosecutions violates Section 8 Application of the Bill of Rights of the Constitution, and is guilty of perjury and aiding and abetting State tyranny against citizens.
Section 38 of the Bill of Rights (re Enforcement of Rights) permits a) Anyone acting in their own interest, b) Anyone acting on behalf of a person who cannot act on their own, c) Anyone acting as a member of, or in the interests of a group or class of persons, to approach a competent court alleging that a right in the Bill of Rights has been infringed or threatened and the Court may grant appropriate relief, including a declaration of right.
The Constitution, in Section 167 (6), also states that National legislation or the rules of the Constitutional Court must allow a person, when it is in the interests of justice and with leave of the Constitutional Court-(a) to bring a matter directly to the Constitutional Court; or (b) to appeal directly to the Constitutional Court from any other court.
I do not only speak here on my own behalf, or in my own defense.
I claim on my own behalf, and on behalf of my fellow citizens who are members of the Dagga Culture of South Africa, that all cases pertaining to Dagga, including this case, are now a human rights issue and therefore a Constitutional matter, until at least, fair representation can be made to the Constitutional Court.
Be informed that the Dagga Culture of South Africa is the multiracial cultural minority in our country that respects and utilizes the Cannabis tree.
I quote from THE REPORT PG 14. (Read out the WHOLE page from top to bottom.)
From Page 14 of “THE REPORT. Cannabis: The Facts, Human Rights and the Law” by D’Oudney, K. and D’Oudney, J. published by SRC Publishing, ISBN No 978-1-902848-20-4. ) :
Scientific FINDINGS OF FACT regarding Cannabis
As Reproduced and collated from the Data and Conclusions of the Official Empirical Studies into long and short-term use and smoking of Cannabis, the following are:
THE FINDINGS OF FACT OF
CANNABIS: THE FACTS, HUMAN RIGHTS, AND THE LAW.
is not toxic in any possible quantity: i.e. it is incapable itself of inducing fatality in a human,
is not addictive, physically or psychologically: i.e. it does not induce physical or psychological dependence;
is not pathogenic, does not cause physical or mental deterioration, has no adverse effect on mental or physical health;
does not cause skill impairments;
has no potential for abuse, or maltreatment of the user; Cannabis has no potential for harm or danger;
does not cause crime;
does not lead to the use of drugs;
mitigates, reduces, and can preclude the use of drugs;
Cannabis as Preventive Measure/Preventive Medicine is health enhancing: all use of benign Cannabis is medical, whether by the sick or hale: the fallacious arbitrary fictitious ‘distinction’ between ‘medical’ and ‘recreational’ use is exceedingly damaging.
Where Cannabis is concerned, the legislation of its Prohibition:
is in its entirety, without factual foundation;
is based on mendacity (lies);
is itself illegal on numerous grounds by Common, Substantive and International Law;
is perjurious in prosecution; perjury by the state is both implicit and overt in every Cannabis trial.
The acts of its enforcement are crime per se; people persecuted thereby qualify for Amnesty and Restitution (as for other Wrongful Penalisation);
The ignoring of these aforegoing Findings of Fact by courts and legislators is ex parte, the crude and criminal denial of Justice.
In its replacement of the use of drugs alcohol, tobacco, etc. by young people and adults, Cannabis promotes health. All private cultivation, trade, possession and use are vindicated.
In regard to Cannabis legislation of substance control is damaging, lethal, and unlawful; all special regulatory control of Cannabis produces negative, damaging and/r lethal results, and is per se unlawful.
Cannabis related prosecutions are legally malicious, i.e. premeditated crime against the person.
Cannabis Relegalization is legally mandatory, that is legislative amendment for the return to the normal status of Cannabis which obtained before the introduction of any controls.
(End of quotation)
I respectfully ask this court to note the ‘political persecution’ plea, and to grant this citizen a fair hearing by allowing this case to be heard in a High court and be referred directly to the Constitutional Court, as is my right, so that the law against Dagga can be fairly evaluated for the good of all citizens of South Africa.
I thank you, your Honor, for hearing this plea and this petition for justice by this citizen, and for the sake of all the other citizens of South Africa.