Toddler 'left to die' - Tamworth woman's fury after cannabis medicine seized in police raid

A DISTRAUGHT Tamworth woman fears her three-year-old nephew has been condemned to die following a raid on his home and the seizure of his cannabis medicine yesterday.

In a move that has outraged medical marijuana advocates, Victorian police yesterday executed a search warrant on the Melbourne home of Cassie Batten, whose son Cooper has severe epilepsy and relies on a cannabis tincture to survive.

The tincture – a non-psychoactive form of cannabis oil – was seized and Ms Batten, originally from Tamworth, was late yesterday being questioned by police.

“Without these tinctures Cooper will die,” Ms Batten’s sister Shirley Kirk said.

“My sister is eight months pregnant and I’m also very concerned about her wellbeing. I just spoke to her at the police station and she sounded very stressed. This is just outrageous.”

Ms Batten could be charged with possessing a drug of dependence and introducing a drug of dependence into the body of another person.

A heavily pregnant Ms Batten left the Epping Police Station with her partner Rhett Wallace after being questioned by police.

She declined to comment outside the station, saying “I can’t say much at this stage”.

It is understood no charges have yet been laid.

A Victoria Police spokesman said the Epping Sex Offences and Child Abuse Investigation Team executed a search warrant at a home in Mernda shortly before 10am yesterday.

“A number of items were seized as part of an active investigation,” she said.

Born at 30 weeks, Cooper has had a catalogue of health issues almost too numerous to mention, among them cerebral palsy, epilepsy, infantile spasms and global delay development.

His seizures, occurring almost every minute, were so profound he required around-the-clock care and was unable to walk, talk or process sight to recognise family members.

In desperation, the family turned to a product called Mullaways Cannabinoid Tincture, an alcohol-based form of cannabis oil.

Within 15 minutes of his first dose, his parents say he began tracking objects with his eyes for the first time and a recent EEG showed he was no longer having seizures.

He now smiles and laughs, can say “mum” and “dad” and just weeks ago sat up for the first time.

The supplier of the cannabis oil, Kempsey-based Tony Bower, last month served six weeks of a 12-month jail sentence for supplying the tinctures before being released on appeal.

Tamworth mum Lucy Haslam, who is spearheading a campaign to decriminalise marijuana for the terminally ill, said the treatment of Ms Batten was “sickening”.

“It’s just sickening and outrageous,” Mrs Haslam said.

“They are just trying to look after their child and keep it well.

“It would be like taking away a diabetic’s insulin.”

The Battens, who were featured on the Sunday Night program last month, are one of at least 150 families nationwide accessing the Mullaways tinctures.

Former director of St Vincent’s Hospital’s drug and alcohol service Dr Alex Wodak said there was “compelling anecdotal evidence” the tinctures were effective in treating intractable epilepsy in children.


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