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Two businessmen to be permanently banned from selling so-called legal highs anywhere in Northern Ireland, judge orders


The accused was released on bail.

The accused was released on bail.

The accused was released on bail.

Two businessmen convicted over the distribution of £400,000 worth of so-called legal highs are to be permanently banned from selling the products anywhere in Northern Ireland, a High Court judge ordered today.

Mr Justice Deeny granted a full injunction against Ian Brown and Ashley Campbell, as well as a woman who worked at a shop linked to them in central Belfast.

The long-term prohibition represents the culmination of landmark proceedings issued by the City Council and Northern Ireland Attorney General John Larkin QC.

Last month 53-year-old Brown, Campbell, 23, and 46-year-old Bradshaw were all sentenced to community service after they admitted failing to comply with safety regulations in distributing a dangerous product, namely Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS).

Charges were brought against them for supply carried out over an eight-month period at the Soho Bookshop on Belfast's Gresham Street.

NPS was said to have been distributed at the premises between October 2013 and July 2014 in a commercial operation raking in £50,000 a month.

The prosecution represented the first convictions over the sale of so-called legal highs in the UK.

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Criminal action was taken in tandem with civil litigation to secure a ban on the traders selling NPS from any location in Northern Ireland.

An interim order was granted last November under the General Product Safety Regulations.

Lawyers for the Council and Attorney General then pressed ahead with efforts to secure a full injunction.

It was previously indicated that Brown, whose address was given as Soho Bookshop, was to resist the application.

But in court today his barrister confirmed he now consented to the outcome.

Stephen Quinn QC also stressed: "My client wants it known he was never directly involved in this business in any shape or form, and he doesn't want to be involved directly or indirectly in the future."

Campbell, also with the Soho Bookshop address, was not legally represented in the High Court proceedings.

He allegedly allowed his name to feature on the details of a linked company, Infernal Publishings Ltd.

However, Bradshaw, of Broom Street in Belfast, was said to have played a relatively minor role, working in the shop without any influence or control.

After being presented with the final terms Mr Justice Deeny agreed to grant a full injunction against all three defendants.

His order extends to Infernal Publishing and also covers any owner or occupier of the Gresham Street premises

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