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For week ended December 19, 1999 Posted 18 Dec 1999

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Defense Claims Cannabis Poisoning Just a Joke

Summarized by Kent Larsen

Defense Claims Cannabis Poisoning Just a Joke
Melbourne Australia Herald Sun 17Dec99 D2
ing this list.

Defense Claims Cannabis Poisoning Just a Joke (Hash hospitality a prank) Melbourne Australia Herald Sun 17Dec99 D2

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA -- The lawyer for two men accused of poisoning two LDS missionaries with cookies laced with cannabis (marijuana) told the court that the prosecution couldn't prove that the cookies had marijuana in them, and even if they did, giving them to the missionaries was an innocent prank.

First Lawyer Justin Hannebery told the court that the missionaries positive test results only proved that the missionaries were exposed to the drug, not that the cookies were the source. He says that a third roommate of the accused was smoking cannabis, exposing the missionaries to its smoke. "It doesn't have to be the most rational or probable hypothesis to be consistent with innocence," said Hannebery. He then said that if the cookies had been laced with cannabis, it was only meant as a practical joke.

But prosecutor Russ Hammill skoffed at the idea that this was only a joke, saying that the men knew the LDS missionaries hadn't used cannibis, but they were experienced users themselves. "They only consumed three cookies themselves and knew that if they had more they would have ended up on the hospital trolley (gurney) next to them," he said. "They encouraged the victims to have 12 each and didn't stop them.

"This may well have been a joke ... but they certainly foresaw the probable consequences of pushing cookies on religious missionaries." said Hammill.

While one of the defendants, Douglas James Lynch, 40, plead guilty to three charges of using, possessing and cultivating cannabis, both he and roommate Alexander McLean, 47, plead not guilty to seven charges including administering a substance likely to interfere with bodily functions and recklessly causing injury.

Magistrate Margaret Harding is expected to rule in the matter today.

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