England

MP's son Sean Ellman denies legal high charge

The son of a Liverpool MP has denied not properly labelling "legal highs" to warn consumers about potential risks.

Sean Alex Ellman, 40, son of Labour MP Louise Ellman, faces charges relating to the supply of a substance called "Gogaine".

He pleaded not guilty at Chester Magistrates Court in relation to two test purchases at his Chester shop.

Mr Ellman, of Withington, Manchester, owns a series of shops in Chester, Manchester, Warrington and St Helens.

The case was brought against Mr Ellman, proprietor of Salsa Enterprises Ltd, by Cheshire West and Chester Council Trading Standards.

It is believed to be a national first, alleging contravention of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations.

Sold widely

The charges follow raids by trading standards officers on a shop in Eastgate Row, Chester, last August.

Charges relate to failing to provide the purchaser with information about the potential risks associated with the product, the court heard.

Alan Conroy, prosecuting, said: "This law has not been used very widely."

He argued that the trial should be sent to crown court where the maximum punishment was two years in jail.

But Jonathan Kirk QC, defending Mr Ellman, said the "novelty" of the case was not enough on its own to merit it being sent to crown court.

He said the defence case was that the legislation the crown relied upon "does not impact upon this substance", which was agreed to be a "legal high sold widely across the county".

District Judge Nicholas Sanders said the case was suitable to be tried at the magistrates' court where the maximum penalty was a fine.

He adjourned the case until 28 November for a two-day trial.