Belfast Telegraph

Legal high sales 'may already be against law'

By ALan Erwin

Selling so-called legal highs could already be unlawful under existing legislation, a court has been told.

Belfast City Council lawyers described the temporary injunction they secured against a trader as a significant development in the fight.

The interim order banning a city centre shop from distributing substances anywhere in Northern Ireland remains in place following a further High Court hearing.

Mr Justice Deeny imposed the prohibition earlier this month under the General Product Safety Regulations 2005 and the common law offence of general public nuisance.

He confirmed that it will remain in force for another two weeks after hearing details of legal aid issues for defendants/respondents in the case. It is believed to be the first time in the UK such an injunction has been secured.

The injunction, sought jointly with the Attorney General, was granted against Ashley James Campbell, Aiden Kerr, Ian Brown, Susan Bradshaw, Infernal Publishing Ltd and Soho Bookshop of Gresham Street in Belfast.

Under its terms they are prohibited from selling novel psychoactive substances anywhere in Northern Ireland.

Further submissions are expected when the case returns to the High Court next month.

After the latest hearing John Walsh, town solicitor for Belfast City Council, stressed the potential ramifications of the proceedings.

He said: "Clearly the court has taken the view that the sale and distribution of these so called legal highs is in fact likely to be unlawful under existing consumer protection legislation."

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