A former bank manager and his partner  caught with over £30,000 worth of cannabis plants at their home in Leeds, has been given a 12 month conditional discharge for the offence.
Gemma Birley and former partner, Christopher Catwood, 35, were caught growing the plant worth a street value of £34,000 in Seacroft, Leeds, in October 2012. Catwood claimed he was growing the plant to fund his £300 a week habit and pleading guilty to producing cannabis.  He was  slapped with a  2 year jail sentence, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to do 300 hours of unpaid work.  A  spokesperson for West Yorkshire police told eye of media , ”a suspended sentence means the court allows the defendant a period of time, after which if he or she does not re-offend, they will not be jailed. However, if they do re offend they will serve the jail time initially imposed if the defendant re offends, plus the sentence for the new crime. A judge gives  a suspended sentence depending on the details of the case and the defendant record”.

His former partner,  Birley received a 12 month conditional discharge for the offence after a probation report which deemed her unlikely to ever come before the court again. Catwood’s lawyer, said the former bank manager had ascended to the heights of success with HSBOS, but suffered a violent attack which unfortunately meant he had to leave his job. The injuries, it was claimed, distorted his personality left him with a changed personality and eventually cost him his relationship with Gemma Birley. His lawyer added that Catwood has worked hard to overcome his attack since the offence and had started his own business.

Clearly, his business included growing a Cannabis plant capable of earning him over £30 grand which he could have eventually doubled with time.  He clearly knew what he was doing, and his defense expressed through his lawyer was a ploy to get him off the hook for his shady plans. Cannabis is used  for recreation by over 2 million people in Britain.  and most users smoke the strong strain of scunk often sprayed with all sorts of chemicals. Cannabis has been related to paranoia and schizophrenia , but it also serves to alleviate pain for suffers of Arthritis.

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Personal users are responsible for their own indulgence in the drug, but dealers in actual fact contribute to the mass spread of cannabis use among teenagers and youths who are often still grappling with basic maturity when they become hooked on a drug that often promotes laziness and squeezes out the necessary drive to succeed. There exist mature adults who can actually manage and lead a responsible life despite smoking the drug.  Most were mature before the began regular smoking, but the problem begins when young children that have not developed try to emulate adults who may be able to handle the drug and balance their life.  Most teenagers are very impressionable right into their mid twenties.

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One thing for sure, any bank manager who ends up selling cannabis will manage the money well, double up and probably be the smartest in the kingdom of dealers. But this bank manager says he was going to smoke it all for personal use to help him combat the the psychological effects of a violent attack. Violent attacks are common everywhere, so we wish Catwood a speedy recovery. Hopefully, his new business will thrive and the business minded former banker will earn lots more money. He will be able to afford as much cannabis as he wants, but hopefully he will spend his money on something else. Police did not release Catwood’s picture to the press at Leeds because ”they don’t usually release pictures of defendant’s who are on a suspended sentence.

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