FINES REDUCED: Exeter magistrates took pity on David Milburn who admitted a drug offence
A MAN has appeared in court charged with possessing 36p worth of cannabis — and come out more than £500 better off.
David Milburn, 42, admitted having the tiny amount of class B drug that officers found in his wallet on Christmas Eve.
He pleaded guilty to possessing the cannabis when he appeared before at Exeter magistrates and was told to stay out of trouble for six months.
Magistrates then took pity on Milburn and reduced a bill of £1,315 in outstanding fines to the court by more than £500.
He was paying them off at a rate of £5 a week deducted from his benefits.
Prosecutor Karen Ball told the court Milburn, of Cheshire Road, Exmouth, was arrested at a train station in Gloucester after an altercation with a station attendant.
While in custody he was searched and officers found 0.2gms of herbal cannabis in the corner of his wallet.
Mrs Ball told the court: “It was less than a pound in value, in actual fact 36p.”
She asked magistrates for the drugs to be destroyed and for Milburn to pay £85 costs — a request the magistrates refused.
Representing himself in court, Milburn told the bench he was travelling to his sister’s home to spend Christmas with his son and mother when he was advised to change on to the wrong train on his journey.
“I had an argument with one of the attendants and the police were called,” he said.
“I don’t smoke cannabis anymore. It must have been there for a long time because I did not even know it was in my wallet.
“It was such a small amount in the corner and had fluff all around it.”
Magistrates sentenced Milburn to a six-month conditional discharge for the offence.
The court was told Milburn had already paid £913 in fines and the remainder included penalties for not paying his TV licence.
Magistrates reduced two fines of £350 down to £100 each and accepted £90 as payment for a £150 fine, all imposed for non payment of a TV licence.
They said had the court known of his financial circumstances when the penalties had been imposed they would not have been so severe.
Magistrates told Milburn: “Because of your circumstances we make no order for costs in this case. We have done what we can to help you.”