The Briton jailed for more than 10 years and fined €23,000 for cultivating cannabis in a Gozo apartment five years ago has filed an appeal claiming that only half of the drug seized actually belonged to him.

The drug was only for his personal use

Daniel Holmes, 34, residing in Għajnsielem, filed the appeal just three days before a planned demonstration calling for the legalisation of cannabis, organised by another man, David Caruana, 29, who is also facing charges for cultivating the drug.

In the appeal, defence lawyer Kenneth Grima argued that the punishment inflicted upon his client was “far too excessive” given the facts and circumstances surrounding the case.

The prosecution had painted a picture of drug pusher living in a luxurious flat when this was not the case. Mr Holmes was paying €350 a month in rent and the type of apartment and its contents were definitely not luxurious in any way, the lawyer said.

Furthermore, the drug found in the apartment did not belong solely to him but also to his friend, Barry Lee, who had since committed suicide while in prison facing the same charges.

Mr Holmes was also jailed on the incorrect assumption that the weight of the plants amounted to more than a kilogram when this included the stem and roots, which if excluded would substantially reduce the amount.

If one removed the stalks and roots and then divided the total amount by two it would prove that the drug was only for his personal use because half of the drugs belonged Mr Lee, the lawyer said.

The fact that his client could not afford utility bills, had to borrow a car and his rent was paid by his parents was testament to the fact that he was not selling drugs, the lawyer added.

When the police raided the flat only some €100 was found and not the huge sums usually associated with such a crime.

Another point was that the court-appointed forensic expert had valued the drug found at €11,693 when Mr Justice Lawrence Quintano declared it as being €13,802, which led to a higher term of imprisonment.

Dr Grima also argued that when taking into consideration what people received for committing murder, rape and grievous bodily harm, the jail term his client received was excessive.

Mr Holmes had since reformed and entered into a relationship from which he had a daughter, whose upbringing he would miss with such a long jail term.

The Criminal Court of Appeal was asked to reduce the jail term after taking these circumstances into account.

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