A solicitor has been suspended after police discovered a small cannabis farm at her home.
Police attended solicitor Michelle Davis' home in April 2017 over a separate matter concerning her children's welfare. During the visit, an officer stumbled across enough cannabis being grown in one of the bedrooms to get a hippopotamus high. The collection consisted of 20 plants, each around 30 centimetres. If harvested, the haul would have had a street value of up to £16,000 (apparently: RollOnFriday has relatively little knowledge of shifting such a load).
In March 2018 the matter was brought before Preston crown court. Davis told the court that the cannabis belonged to her husband and that she hadn't had any involvement in setting up, growing or cultivating the plants. However, she pleaded guilty to "permitting" the production of the drug on her premises. The court convicted Davis (as well as her husband) saying that she was responsible in her own way for the drugs. The court accepted the argument that the drugs weren't being produced for sale. The judge sentenced Davis to a community order which included rehabilitation activity of 25 days.
"Ah the good life. Simple, sustainable, self-sufficient and stoned"
Last month, the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal heard the matter. Davis apologised and said that she understood that she had "let people down". She told the tribunal that she accepted her wrongdoing and that it would not happen again. She asked the panel to consider an alternative to striking her off as she "would love" to be given the chance to continue to practise as a solicitor.
The tribunal found that although Davis did not instigate the criminal activity, there was "ongoing acquiescence in what was happening, whether or not she knew of its extent". However, the tribunal also noted that she had not appeared before the tribunal before and believed that her remorse was genuine.
Davis avoided being struck off. However, the tribunal said that "the maintenance of the reputation required a suspension to be imposed" and slapped Davis with a six months suspension and ordered that she pay costs of £2,800.