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Drug driving case dismissed.

Updated: Mar 18


Sergeant not trained to use drug detecting equipment.




A DRUG DRIVING case was dismissed at Waterford District Court after the court expressed a doubt that a device had been used correctly.


Mr EH was represented by Patrick Horan and Alan O’ Dwyer B.L.

The case came before Judge Brian O’ Shea.

 

On 3 January 2021 Mr EH had been involved in a road traffic accident on the N25 at Glenmore, Kilkenny. A sergeant who investigated the accident gave Mr EH a breath test, which he passed.


Judge O’ Shea...said that he had a doubt
that the machine, operated by an unqualified user,
had been used correctly.

He was then required to provide a specimen of his saliva to test for the presence of drugs. The test was administered using a Drager STK5000.

 

The test showed the presence of benzodiazepines and opiates. Mr EH was arrested and later charged with intoxicated driving.

The basis of the charge was the positive finding of drugs in Mr EH’s saliva.

 

If convicted Mr EH would have been disqualified from driving for 4 years.

 

During cross examination, Alan O’ Dwyer BL asked the prosecuting Sergeant if he was a trained operator of the Drager device. His statement had not specified whether he was or was not.  The Sergeant said that he had not been trained to use the machine.

 

 

Mr O’ Dwyer then asked a number of questions about the Drager device, including its use, suggesting that a working knowledge of the device was essential.


The Sergeant had based his decision to arrest Mr EH on the result of the Drager device. However, he was not trained in its use and was not familiar with how the machine worked.





 

Judge O’Shea then intervened and asked Mr O’ Dwyer what he felt the significance of this was.

 

Mr O’ Dwyer applied to have the case dismissed. He said that the decision to arrest Mr EH was based solely on the result of the Drager drug device.


As the Sergeant had not been trained in the use of the device, the court would have to have a doubt that the device was used correctly. If this was the case, there was no evidence that Mr EH had been intoxicated due to the use of drugs while driving.

 

Judge O’ Shea agreed and dismissed the charge. He said that he had a doubt that the machine, operated by an unqualified user, had been used correctly.

 

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