A 25-year-old man who was before Castlebar District Court for driving while under the influence of drugs had his case dismissed.
At a previous court, evidence was outlined that John Murphy, Knocknageehy, Breaffy, was stopped by Garda Naughton on March 2 2011 at 3.25am at Kilkenny, Castlebar, after the garda noticed that Murphy was driving erratically as he crossed over the white line on a number of occasions.
When stopped, the garda noticed that there was a strong smell of cannabis coming from the car. Beside the driver’s seat a small bag of cannabis was found. The defendant admitted to gardaí that he had been smoking the drug that night.
Murphy was arrested and at Castlebar Garda Station he provided two urine samples which were sent for analysis; the results of which showed that there was no alcohol present, however cannabis was detected in the sample; a level of how much cannabis was in his system is not measured in this test.
Murphy told the court that he worked overtime until 3am and was on his way home from work when he was stopped. He said that he was tired, and drove at speed, but he did not think that he drove erratically. The defendant said he had bought the small amount of cannabis earlier that evening which he left in the ashtray of his car and admitted that he smoked a small amount of it during a break from work at 7pm.
Judge Mary Devins said that the garda upon smelling cannabis searched the car under the Misuse of Drugs Act, however the amount discovered did not warrant a prosecution under the Misuse of Drugs Act for possession. The judge said that Murphy was “obviously breaking the law” by driving after taking cannabis, however the case highlights the anomaly between drink driving and drug driving, as no amounts present in the system are given for drug driving, unlike drink driving.
The judge asked Murphy to give assurance to the court that he would never again take drugs; which he did.
The case was dismissed.