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Practising Rastafarian tells court he is ‘Catch-22’ situation after being caught with cannabis

16:57 03 July 2014

A practising Rastafarian caught with two large bags of cannabis told a court the drug was part of his “every day life”.

Representing himself at Barkingside Magistrates’ Court on Friday, Jahbuna Warburton said it was a “Catch-22” situation after admitting possessing cannabis on June 10.

Prosecuting, Victoria Ojo said police officers saw Mr Warburton and another man sitting in a black car at around 8.30am.

As they approached the car, the pair “made a run for it” but were caught and searched, with police finding two large clear bags – around 15cm by 15cm – of herbal cannabis.

She said 27-year-old Warburton, of Express Drive in Goodmayes, was arrested and told police the drug was for his own personal use, and he had been given it by the Rastafarian community.

Representing himself in court, Warburton said: “I admit I did make a run for it, because I thought if they stopped me they were going to arrest me.

“I do smoke cannabis for sacrifical use.

“I’m a practising Rastafarian. I have been all my life.

“That’s part of my culture, part of my creed, part of my every day living.

“I know it’s not part of the law, but one man would throw a stone, one man would praise you for it in another society.

“You’re in a Catch-22, when President Obama is legalising it, but it’s the society that I’m living in – that’s my one disadvantage in this disposition we are living in now.”

The self-employed sales advisor also told magistrates he had been late for his court appearance that morning because he had to take his brother to the doctors’ after he suffered an epileptic fit.

Magistrates handed Warburton a £100 fine and ordered him to pay £85 towards costs and a £20 victim surcharge.

Exiting the court room, Warburton added: “I’m not a law-breaking criminal, I’m not a violent man.”

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