Prison Hunger Strike Threat: Hunger Strike Call If Sentenced to Jail
Timaru Herald (16/2/11)
A TImaru man is threatening to go on hunger strike if he is sent to prison next month. In the Timaru District Court yesterday Peter John Frances Davy, 51, was bailed to take care of his partner who has multiple sclerosis, but has been warned he could be jailed when he is sentenced for possession of cannabis, cultivating cannabis, importing cannabis seed and unliscenced possession of a rifle on March 16th.
Police found dozens of cannabis plants ranging in height from six centimetres to one metre, and about 10,000 dried cannabis seeds from local and imported sources when they executed a search warrant at his property on December 22. A .222 rifle was also found.
Davy, who has cancer, claimed the cannabis was for medicinal purposes.
In an impassioned e-mail to the Timaru Herald, Davy said he would go on hunger strike if he went to jail. His partner was terrified she would lose everything including him if he was jailed.
'The judge told me to expect a prison sentence in one month's time when I go up for sentencing because it is about the fifth time I've been convicted.
'I have cancer and I am a 24-hour caregivier for my partner who has advanced multiple sclerosis. She is dying and will die without me', Davy said.
'I am not trying to use her as an excuse, this is my crusade not hers.'
He said he would embark on a hunger strike the moment he was given a prison sentence.
'...I absolutely do not want to be force-fed under any circumstances.'
'I will also be refusing all cancer medication. I am 100 percent commited to continuing with a hunger strike until I am dead.' Davy said he started smoking marijuana 10 years ago when he was diagnosed with cancer.
'Before that I was one of the top computer engineers in the country and the IT [information technology] manager for the South Taranaki District Council.' Since I started smoking cannabis I have been targeted by gangsters and Police alike, and already been to prison once where I attempted suicide.'
Davy said he had a high IQ, and believed the cannabis helped him cope with his condition. 'So I am not a stupid man and would not willingliy put myself through 10 years of hell unless I truly had a good reason.'
'I genuinely believe in Medical Marijuana, not as an excuse for recreational use, but as a scientifcally proven medicine for specific medical conditions. I have had to do all my own research and I have continually treid, on my own, to breed a better medical strain specifically for medical use.'
His partner Tracey Perrin, 39, said that while she did not smoke marijauana she completely supported medical marijuana, and was convinced Davy would carry out the hunger strike.
'Having that irish blood in him, he is stubborn, which terrifies me. I don't want to lose my best friend.'
'He is my carer, I am confined to a wheelchair and need 24 hour care. If he goes to prison I will have to go to a rest home to be cared for and will lose my home and my possessions.'
Davy has a prolactinoma, she said, which was initially misdiagnosed as a cancerous tumour, and he was told he had days to live.
A prolactinoma is a pituitary tumour that produces a hormone called prolactin which ends up in the blood. The condition can be controlled by medication.
In court, defence counsel Quentin Hix said up until a cancer diagnosis 10 years ago, Davy had not had any cannabis issues, but since then he had researched the topic and regarded himself as a 'relative expert' on the topic of medicinal cannabis.
When discussing possible sentencing options, Judge Neave said Davy had 10 previous convictions for either possession for supply, or cultivation or dealing in cannabis. He also had five previous weapons charges, he said.
'Now when that comes together that's a combination that spells prison.'
He was remanded to March 16th for reports and sentence. But he was told to be prepared for the possibility of prison.