Gary Youds pleaded guilty to possessing cannabis resin after plants were found in a wardrobe
Cheers were heard in court today as a former owner of a cannabis cafe avoided jail.
Gary Youds, of Cavan Road, West Derby, had pleaded guilty to possessing cannabis resin after 202 plants were found in a wardrobe at his home by police on March 3, 2019.
The 50-year-old appeared in a packed court room at Liverpool Crown Court on Friday, as supporters from across the country gathered to publicly stand by the dad-of-two
At a previous hearing, on February 12, Youds pleaded guilty to possessing cannabis and producing a controlled drug, namely cannabis.
Cheryl Mottram, prosecuting, said police raided Youds’ home and found the plants in a wardrobe.
She said Youds accepted the plants were on his property, but he didn’t have the means to sustain all of the plants in the environment or grow them.
And at an earlier hearing Brendan Carville, defending, said his client said they were “only just plants because they didn’t have roots – they were just cuttings.”
Ms Mottram added that because Mr Youds suffers from arthritis, he had the cannabis plants at his property because “he doesn’t take prescription medication for his condition”.
She told the court: “He had grown them from seeds and they were CBD plants, which he said were legal and he was growing them to help with his arthritis.”
Ms Mottram said a yield could not be determined by police from the hundreds of plants seized, as they had not developed enough to say how much worth they would have had.
Sentencing, Judge Anil Murray spared Youds a jail sentence.
Youds was given a community order for 12 months and told to attend 25 days of rehab for possessing cannabis.
He was then given another 12 month community order for producing cannabis, to run concurrently with his other sentence.
Claps could be heard from the public gallery as Youds was given his sentence, as some of his entourage of supporters thanked the judge while leaving the court room.
While relieved Youds did not receive a custodial sentence, some of his supporters claimed he should not have been arrested in the first place.
A supporter of Youds’, Callie Blackwell said: “The community order is completely unfair, he’s done nothing wrong.”
Under UK law, cannabis is a Class B drug and those found to possess it can fave up to five years in prison, an unlimited fine or both.
Another supporter of his, Jannette Clements, said it was “ironic” Youds was given a community order when “he’s been doing a community service for others”
The ECHO reported in 2017 how Youds was told to pay back just £600 of his £25,000 profits from his cannabis caf e.
Youds – described as a “martyr” for legalisation of the drug – was sentenced to nine months in January 2017 .
He was locked up after being caught running the illegal business in Holt Road, Kensington for the third time.
Police discovered £11,000 of cannabis, along with electronic scales and cash, when they raided the cafe on June 18, 2015.
Ms Clements, from East Surrey, said Youds was instrumental in bringing the community together, and argued his cafe was a force for good.
Agreeing, Ms Blackwell said: “He got people in the community a job. He got people off the dole and he was helping people.”
Youds first applied to Liverpool council to convert the former taxi office into a “private members club” for cannabis smokers in 2002.
When councillors rejected his plans for the Tea Cafe in Holt Road, Kensington, the former property developer went ahead and set it up anyway.
Youds was then handed a conditional discharge for letting The Chillin’ Rooms cafe be used for smoking cannabis in 2005.
He ignored the punishment and was locked up for 12 months in 2006, after he also admitted to growing a crop at his home and dealing the drug.
Judge Brian Lewis, sentencing, on that occasion said: “Either you wanted to martyr yourself in the cause of the pro-cannabis lobby or you wanted to set up a cafe, a deliberate and blatant challenge to the law.”