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Ian Bailey disqualified from driving and fined €700 over cannabis charges

The ruling was made at a hearing in Bantry District Court.

(File photo)
(File photo)
Image: Sasko Lazarov/RollingNews.ie

FORMER JOURNALIST IAN Bailey has been disqualified from driving for one year and fined €700 after being convicted of drug-driving in court.

The ruling was made at a hearing in Bantry District Court today and follows four charges against Bailey arising from his arrest near Schull in west Cork on 25 August, 2019.

Bailey, of the Prairie, Lisscaha in Schull, had been charged with and pleaded not guilty to possession of cannabis in his car, possession of cannabis at Bantry garda station, driving while cannabis was in his system and allowing his car to be used for the possession of cannabis.

He was convicted of three charges today, with the dismissal of the charge of possession of cannabis in his car.

In November last year, judge John King heard legal submissions from barrister Emmet Boyle on behalf of Bailey. The case was adjourned at that point to allow for written submissions on various matters.

Bantry District Court previously heard that Bailey had been stopped at a checkpoint in Schull shortly after 8pm on 25 August, 2019.

He was arrested on suspicion of drink driving, having failed a roadside breath test, but he then passed a test at Bantry garda station.

However, Bailey was found with a small tin of cannabis in his possession following his arrest.

The court heard that Bailey had failed an oral fluid test and that blood samples taken by a doctor at Bantry garda station later tested positive for cannabis.

The court also heard that Bailey said that the cannabis found on him was for “personal use” and a search of his car should not uncover any more of the drug.

However, gardaí said they found three other joints in the car after a search.

Retained car keys

Emmet Boyle, a barrister for Bailey, raised a number of issues in relation to the case, including how gardaí came to uncover the cannabis on Bailey and in his car.

Counsel also said the arresting garda allegedly retained his client’s car keys after his release on the night of his arrest, then took the car and parked it at the garda station overnight before searching it the following morning.

But garda inspector Ian O’Callaghan defended the Gardaí’s procedures.

He said the roadside procedures were “totally correct” and that once cannabis had been discovered in Bailey’s possession, an experienced officer had correctly formed the opinion that the accused may have been driving under the influence of a drug.

He said it was “entirely logical” to deduce this and that the sergeant’s opinion “was proved correct” following a subsequent analysis.

O’Callaghan said it was “standard practice” that prisoners would be searched at a garda station. He said the keys to Bailey’s car were in possession of the gardaí “at all times” and that it was the State’s view “that all procedures were done correctly”.

The drug seized was also confirmed as cannabis by the Forensic Science Laboratory.

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Statutory requirements

Today at Bantry District Court, the judge dismissed the charge of possession of cannabis in Bailey’s car, stating that gardaí had not observed the statutory requirements in detaining the vehicle.

However, he convicted Bailey on the three other charges.

The judge said Bailey had been adequately informed before being searched at the garda station.

Counsel for Bailey said that the driving disqualification faced by his client would “weigh heavily on him” because he lived in rural setting.

He said that Bailey’s earnings were of a “lower order” and the court was also told that he was on social welfare.

“He is living with somebody at their home, I will just leave it at that,” counsel said.

The judge convicted Bailey of drug-driving and fined him €400. He also fined Bailey €300 for possession of cannabis. Recognisance for an appeal was set at Bailey’s own bond of €200.

Bailey told reporters outside the court that he didn’t have any thoughts on the verdict.

About the author:

Olivia Kelleher

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