Pubdate: Sat, 06 Sep 2008
Source: Irish Times, The (Ireland)
Copyright: 2008 The Irish Times
Author: Paddy Clancy
Bookmark: (Cannabis)
Bookmark: (Cannabis and Driving)


THE ROAD Safety Medical Bureau was criticised yesterday by a judge for
failing to test for the level of drug intoxication in a driver
arrested by gardai. Ballyshannon District Court, Co Donegal, was told
that a breath-test for alcohol on a young driver, Peter Gillen, proved

But Garda Sean Flynn still had suspicions about the reason for Mr
Gillen's unusual driving at 4.10am when he turned at speed into a
housing estate without using his indicator. Mr Gillen, who was "very
shocked, unsteady and very agitated", was arrested on suspicion of
drug-driving and later gave a urine sample.

Judge Kevin Kilrane said that while a certificate from the bureau
showed there was cannabis in Mr Gillen's system, the positive result
could have been caused by a tiny trace of drugs. The judge said that
when he recently practised as a solicitor he queried the bureau about
such tests which did not reveal the concentration of drugs.

He said: "The defendant could have been stoned out of his mind or he
might have had a trace element only."

Judge Kilrane said the evidence was "too thin" to convict on a charge
that carried a "huge penalty" of an automatic four-year drive ban.
There was no way of knowing if the cannabis traces found in Mr
Gillen's system were recent, or had been there some days, the judge

The judge added: "At best, all you have is suspicion and suspicion is
not enough." He dismissed the charge against Gillen of drug-driving
near his home at Ballyshannon, on December 12th last year. The judge
said: "It is not the fault of the gardai. It is the fault of the
bureau that does not give a concentration of drugs."
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