Cannabis test case in court

A teacher accused of growing drugs at his home will not face trial until a High Court ruling on a similar case is made.

The Crown Prosecution Service had wanted to deal with the case of Alan Taylor, a science teacher at Westleigh High School, at Wigan Magistrates' Court yesterday.

But the 39-year-old, of East Avenue, Leigh, successfully applied for an adjournment to await the decision of the Divisional Court in the case of Edwin Stratton at Waltham Forest Magistrates' Court on July 2.

Taylor argued that the High Court ruling in the Stratton case would affect his own and District Judge Lloyd accepted that the cases were, in legal terms, "on all fours" with each other.

Taylor, who is currently suspended from his teaching job, was arrested in August 2008 when police raided his home and confiscated four plants.

He was charged with producing and posessing cannabis in March.

Stratton, 43, of Leyton in East London, is involved in a legal battle for equal protection and equal rights for users of equally-harmful drugs.

Stratton will argue that the Misuse of Drugs Act is there to protect people from harm, but that the harm caused by cannabis is no worse than other drugs such as alcohol or tobacco.

Speaking in his own defence, Taylor said: "I don't know any teachers who are not recreational drug users but I am treated differently to them.

"My reason and motivation for what I am doing is because I think there is great public interest in this case.

"It's not possible for me to have a fair trial before the High Court decision."

Despite raising concerns over the extra legal costs Taylor could face if he was eventually convicted, District Judge Lloyd adjourned the case until July 10 and granted Taylor unconditional bail.