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'Hindu god' Littledean cannabis couple spared jail by judge

By The Citizen  |  Posted: December 17, 2013

  • Katarzyna Dryden-Chouen

  • Gloucester Crown Court

Comments (10)

HUSBAND and wife Katarzyna and Clive Dryden-Chouen have walked free from court after growing vast quantities of cannabis which they claimed they would burn as a spiritual offering to a Hindu god.

The couple not only had numerous plants in various states of growth, but kilograms of harvested crop when police raided their Littledean home last year.

Their diaries also contained entries which police thought indicated they had been supplying the drugs to other people.

But after hearing their two young children, one of whom has learning difficulties, would suffer if they were jailed, the judge imposed suspended sentences.

Clive, 60, and Katarzyna, 47, had been charged with possession with intent so supply and money laundering relating to a quarter of a million pounds which had passed through her hands.

But following a three-week trial at Gloucester Crown Court, a jury cleared them of those charges, leaving just the production offence, which they had admitted.

Police raided their home in Church Street in August last year and found 15 established and 41 juvenile plants as well as kilograms of plant matter, including flowering heads. They also recovered the paraphernalia for growing the plants, more than £12,000 in cash and the diaries which also detailed the cultivation of the crop.

In the lounge was a shrine to the Hindu god of Shiva, who has a close association with hemp.

Fiona Elder, for Katarzyna, said her client was using a lot of valium at the time and went too far in her religious devotion.

She said: “She took a course in this particular part of her life when she became obsessed, I think for want of a better word, with cannabis and its properties and the spiritual side of it.

“Your Honour will also know at the same time it was revealed in evidence, and the subject of one of the charges on the indictment, the increasing use of valium.

“She seemed to become what she eventually said in evidence, dependant upon that. It had an impact on the way she behaved in that period.”

She said they had two young sons, who social services said were well brought up, but the impact on them of her being jailed would be immense.

Robert Duval, for Clive, said: “He has come within an iota of destroying his own family. The stability of it and the financial future of it.”

He said the money recovered had been signed over to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and they would be pursued for any other unpaid tax.

Judge Alistair McGrigor said: “The jury found you not to have been supplying cannabis to others throughout those years and not to have made any criminal property.

“This was effectively an excessive self production for your own consumption.”

Giving them credit for their plea he said: “There is a matter that goes against your credit: you have two young children at home that rely on you.

“You had filled the house with the accoutrements of cannabis production and that along with your behaviour would have had an affect on your children.

“If you were to go into prison this would cause further considerable hardship to your children. That is why this is going to be dealt with by way of a suspended sentence.”

He imposed 10-month jail terms suspended for two years and ordered they each do 120 hours of community service.

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  • Kay_Powell  |  December 18 2013, 5:23PM

    Never mind the judge, what about the jury? They were the ones who accepted the couple's amusing fairytale.

    Rate   -5
  • lewipaul  |  December 18 2013, 2:23PM

    So how did they explain the quarter of a million pounds that passed through their hands, they must be laughing their heads off getting away with this.

    Rate   -4
  • supernova1  |  December 18 2013, 9:32AM

    The judiciary want total independence from politics and Government, yet they come up with decisions like this that make them a laughing stock. EVERY person going to jail is going to impact on someone else's life. It's why jail is meant to be a deterrent, as well as keeping junkie suppliers off our streets. If they were black crack cocaine suppliers with young children would they have been spared jail...............................ermmmm, yes, probably by this twerp!

    Rate   -7
  • Justica  |  December 18 2013, 8:07AM

    This sends out a clear message to anyone else thinking of breaking the law and growing cannabis. Come out with a cock and bull story with a mystical twist and the judge fall for it !

    Rate 0
  • CVFHQ  |  December 18 2013, 2:32AM

    The quicker cannabis is legalised and regulated, the quicker our police force and court systems can focus on real crime, like murder and assault cases. Cannabis is safer to consume for adults that both alcohol and tobacco, yet tens of millions of taxpayer pounds are wasted trying to tackle its use. Under a legalised and regulated system, thousands of taxable jobs could be created, helping give our economy a massive boost. Clearly our current approach isn't working, and so change is desperately needed. Cannabis Volunteer Force (CVF) CVF Media Team http://tinyurl.com/q2dhhqf

    Rate   19
  • nedaemch  |  December 18 2013, 12:09AM

    A very clever barrister they had. People in all walks of life (including judges) are intimidated by brains and wit.

    Rate   1
  • agaga  |  December 17 2013, 9:57PM

    Blinkers on! he must have been asleep. by the way, who pays for the trial?

    Rate 0
  • GlosAnarchy  |  December 17 2013, 7:40PM

    So we have some new excuses to add to the defense list, I take it they won't find a Rastafarians guilty of any cannabis charges now!

    Rate   6
  • Glos_Lad34  |  December 17 2013, 7:01PM

    The judge must have blinkers on.

    Rate 0
  • GlostaBoy123  |  December 17 2013, 6:39PM

    Madness, judge got fooled!

    Rate   -3