Sam went to the pub for the well-established with his elderly mother. You know the kinds of establishment where men in suits and a tie like to show off how well off they are. His mother started to chat to one of these men, who told nice stories. The man looked like a successful entrepreneur who doesn’t have to live of a small pension. For some reason the conversation landed on furnaces. The man in the suit mentioned that in his fancy loft he was having trouble with his furnace. A company had done maintenance and since then there was a technical failure. “Sam, would you mind taking a look at that?” Sam seemed helpful. “I don’t really have any expertise on the matter. I reset my own system and refill the water level. But I wouldn’t mind taking a look at it Sir.”
No sooner said than done. Sam visited his new acquaintance in his loft. While he was taking a look at the furnace the man received a phone call. Sam could just hear him say “I will be right back”. Sam was working on the furnace as the doorbell rang. He walked towards the door to see who was there. To his surprise it was the police. What should I do now Sam thought. He decided to wait until the police had left. Once he thought that the police had left he went outside. There he was waited upon by a police officer. The police officer brought him back inside. During the tour of the apartment Sam saw two tents for cultivating cannabis in the living room. He hadn’t seen these tents from the hallway. The police officer looked at the tents with admiration and turned to Sam: “how silly of you to only place two tents in this room”. Sam thought, did I hear this right? You? I have nothing to do with this. The police officer had already made up his mind. Sam was arrested as a suspect. At the police station it was mentioned to him that he could contact a lawyer prior to making a statement. And so he did. Sam was advised to remain silent to all the questions that were asked and he did. By the District Attorney Sam was summand before the judge. There was a suspicion that Sam was involved with someone else or others and that he had stolen electricity. With that he would have earned a profit of € 16.000,-. That was also the amount that the District Attorney was reclaiming. Sam told the judge that he was not involved with the cultivation of cannabis. He told the entire story. The judge looked at him and said “why didn’t you mention this to the police immediately”? Out of experience I know that judges don’t believe the statements that a suspect makes for the first time at trial.
Sam told the judge that he was startled by the comments from the police officer at the scene. The judge kept questioning Sam, but he kept on giving the right answers. You could notice that the case was leaning the other way. When the personal circumstances came about the judge asked Sam what the deal was with the other cannabis case. Sam’s face changed colour. “The other cannabis case? I don’t know what you are talking about?” The judge took another look at Sam’s criminal record and apologized. He had read it wrongly. Sam hadn’t ever been involved with police. The judge told Sam that he was used to thinking out loud. Sam replied “I rather not hear what you think, because you just scared me”. The judge was done with the case. He acquitted Sam because based on the case file he couldn’t determine anything else then that Sam was in an apartment where cannabis was found. There was insufficient evidence that Sam was involved, so he acquitted him. I think that the judge based his ruling on his gut feeling. The belief that Sam had acted in the wrong was missing. A judge with a backbone must acquit and so he should.
Translated by Joanna McKernan. Joanna works as a Lawyer for the law firm Beckers & Bergmans in Sittard. She is a native English speaker. Joanna has a lot of experience in cannabis related civil cases.
André Beckers (Lawyer)
available on phone: 003165317489
Joanna McKernan (Lawyer)
available on phone: 0031467600030