A man charged with consuming ganja and cocaine asked for bail last week, telling the court he was not hurting anybody but himself.
Magistrate Margaret Ramsay-Hale disagreed.
The drug trade is menacing the entire community, she said, and trade involves not only sellers but buyers. The defendant might not be a menace personally, but as a buyer he is part of the drug problem.
The magistrate posed several questions. How many mothers and children are hurt or abandoned because of illegal drugs? How many people are killed in the drug trade? How much money is spent trying to interdict drug trafficking?
The defendant himself might not be a violent person, but for too many people drugs become a connection with violence and other anti-social activities, the magistrate said.
The defendant was hurting himself and the community in which he lived, so he had no right to be in it, she concluded.
The defendant apologised and said he didn’t mean his remark in that way.
The magistrate told him he had two choices: treatment for his addiction or jail for breaking the law that prohibits consumption of illegal drugs.
The man chose treatment and was given bail on condition he report to a counsellor for assessment.