Flowers to be used for floristry are “picked” and not “mown”

Partner Hannah Jones comments on an interesting recent case that was before the Court of Appeal. “Were the flowers that you recently purchased from the florist “picked” or “mown”? This may seem like an unnecessarily fine distinction but it was a distinction that recently became crucial for a trader in dried flowers in Ipswich”.


The trader had imported from the Netherlands two consignments of dried poppy heads with a view to satisfying orders for decorative poppy heads in the United States of America. The consignments were, however, seized at the border and a summons issued by the UK Border Agency seeking their destruction because they were deemed to be “poppy straw” under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.


When the case had come to the Crown Court, it was accepted that the defendant was at all material times a trader in dried flowers (i.e. not a drug trafficker). The Court also accepted his representations that the consignments had been picked by a team who harvested the seeds by hand from a specially adapted trailer. The seedheads were then sorted and dried.


The Crown Court found that the two consignments were within the definition of poppy straw in the 1971 act. The Crown Court found that “mowing” meant harvesting, reaping, picking or other removal from the soil. The Crown Court concluded that there could be no sensible doubt that the defendant had imported poppy straw, however much he might wish it otherwise.


The Appeal court, however, disagreed. In the view of the Court of Appeal, it was clear that care had to have been taken in obtaining and drying the poppy heads in the two consignments and that, in the absence of this care, they would not have been of use to a floristry supplier because their decorative quality would have been lost. It was also argued that, as a matter of the ordinary use of language, it would not be said that bunches of tulips or daffodils or poppies that could be used in flower arrangements had been mown. Rather, it would be said that they had been picked or harvested as flowers.


If the wide approach taken by the Crown Court was right there would be no need for any reference in the Act to “mowing” or any other means of removal from the land because before any issue of exportation and importation arose the poppies had to have been separated from the land.


It was easy to see that the poppy heads in issue had been harvested with care and therefore, as matter of the ordinary use of language, had not been mown.  As such, the consignments were not “poppy straw”. 


The trader was allowed to take his consignments and satisfy his orders for decorative poppy heads in the United States of America.


If you would like assistance in criminal related issues, call Hannah on 023 9282 0747. 

 

February 2018

 

High Court Rules that female cohabitee is entitled to share of deceased partner’s estate

May 2018

Solicitor Gemma Nolan comments on a recent landmark ruling where the High Court has found in favour of a 79 year old woman, after her partner of 42 years left her out of his will.

More Info

Online tax appeals for the digital age

May 2018

A new digital service is allowing people to submit appeals over their tax bill entirely online.

More Info

Are you ready for GDPR?

May 2018

Are you ready for the introduction of the new European General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)? If not, you only have a little time to prepare, as the new rules come into force on the 25th May 2018.

More Info

Your rights do not depend upon your knowledge of them

April 2018

A recent ruling from the Court of Appeal has underlined the fact that a United Kingdom citizen’s rights do not depend upon their knowledge of them. Partner Andrew Bryan said, “This is a relatively simple case but it has profound and positive implications for the protection of UK citizens by the courts”.

More Info

We’re proud to be associated with

  • The Law Society, Conveyancing Quality Accredited logo
  • The Law Society, Children Law Accredited logo
  • The Law Society, Criminal Litigation Accredited logo
  • The Law Society, Family Law Accredited logo
  • The Law Society, Family Law Advanced Accredited logo
  • The Law Society, Lexcel Accredited logo
  • Solicitors For The Elderly Accredited logo
  • Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners logo
  • Dementia Friends logo
  • Resolution logo