The senior police commander who crafted the Met’s drug strategy ‘used LSD and cannabis’

A senior police officer who crafted an anti-drugs strategy for the Met was photographed with cannabis on his table, a court heard.

Commander Julian Bennett, 63, is also accused of consuming LSD and magic mushrooms as well as failing to provide a sample for a drug test.

The officer, who has served on the force since 1976, has been dubbed a ‘sacker’ for taking a tough approach to rogue officers when he presided over disciplinary hearings, but could now be kicked out of the force himself.

He is also accused of failing to provide a drug sample after suspecting he consumed cannabis on July 21, 2020 and lying about why he did not provide one.

Cmdr Bennett claimed he had taken cannabidiol, a form of medical cannabis, to treat facial paralysis, which he said at an earlier hearing he “knew to be untrue”.

Mark Ley-Morgan, representing the Metropolitan Police, told a police disciplinary hearing on Friday: “She [the key witness in the case] took a photo of Commander Bennett with cannabis on his table.

His lawyer John Beggs QC wants the case thrown out because Sheila Gomes, the key witness in the case, says she has proof he took the drugs, failed to show up for the hearing.

He said the court case had become “abusive” and would be unfair if it could not be cross-examined.

He also told the court in Brompton, west London, that the proceedings must end, saying the decisions which led to the appointment of the presiding judge had been improperly influenced by force.

Mr Ley-Morgan said those arguments were ‘absurd’ and added that even if Ms Gomes’ request to dismiss evidence was successful, Cmdr Bennett still had a case to answer regarding the alleged failure to provide a drug sample.

He told the court: “He [Bennett] refused to provide a drug test and he did so knowing that he was refusing to obey a lawful order.

“He did this knowing that the Metropolitan Police consider refusing to provide a drug sample to be as serious as providing a positive sample.

“He asked someone to go to the commissioner and asked her if she would let him resign.

“It’s a curious approach for a man who claims to be a man of integrity. He then explained why the sample might have tested positive.

“Why would you give this explanation and then refuse to give a sample? It does not mean anything.

“It may not result in a positive sample and if it did he could have said ‘I have all these products, come to my house and you will find them’.

“What would make sense as an explanation for refusing to provide a sample is that he believed the sample would be inconsistent with the minimum amount of cannabis in CBD products.”

Commander Bennett drafted the Force Counter-Drug Strategy for 2017 to 2021 titled “Dealing with the Impact of Drugs on Communities”.

He fired more than 200 officers during his time on disciplinary boards, the court heard.

The three-person panel, chaired by Akbar Khan, will then meet at the end of this month to make a decision on whether to dismiss the case and admit Ms Gomes’ testimony as hearsay.

Back To Top