Bruce Botha and another Knysna resident (who wishes to be unnamed) both successfully applied for a stay of prosecution at the Cape High Court this week. Both were raided at home and arrested (at different times) for cannabis plants growing in their gardens. They cannot be prosecuted until after the Constitutional Court rules on cannabis usage. This is expected to take place in 2016.
“Knysna, the precedent has been set. Two more Stays in Prosecution granted in the Western Cape High Court. Now the draconian police and courts know that they will not be able to take Dagga cases in the area to trial if the people who are arrested #Jointhequeue. Well done to Bruce Botha and the 2nd defendant for trusting the process. Thank you to [his wife] Marylou Botha for spreading the word and shouting loud for the cause!”
Bruce and Marylou gave special thanks to Myrtle Clarke and Jules Stobbs (a.k.a. ‘The Dagga Couple’) for all their support and guidance and expressed deep admiration for Robin-Stransham Ford, their advocate, who had unfortunately died 2 weeks earlier. They also thanked the other defendant’s lawyer, Donald Curtis, for giving them advice.
In Knysna, a town well known for its dagga arrests, particularly with regards the Rastafari community of Judah Square, this is particularly relevant as all those busted can now use the same argument.
Local police and prosecutors will be faced with the catch-22 of either lessening their arrest rate or clogging a system that is already backlogged. It is common belief amongst many Knysna citizens, including this author, that the Knysna SAPS illegally full quotas so as to make it appear as they are tough on drugs. However, it’s as apparent that the town is faced with a major tik (a.k.a. meth) problem and associated crime rate that isn’t being adequately addressed by the police, politicians and Knysna Municipality.
PS: On a personal note, protest and standing up for one’s rights is a rarity in Knysna which so often bows to a system that is disproportionate and unfair. Kudos to the Botha couple for setting a good example of citizen action.