Longford woman drove car after smoking joint

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Judge Seamus Hughes

Judge Seamus Hughes.

A woman who appeared at last week’s sitting of Longford District Court charged under the Road Traffic Act was disqualified from driving for four years and fined €250.

Judyta Starzynska, 61 McEoin Park, Longford appeared before Judge Seamus Hughes charged with driving while under the influence of an intoxicating substance at Deanscurragh, Longford on December 15, 2016.

Outlining the evidence to the court, Garda Scanlon said that on the date in question, he was conducting a checkpoint in the Deanscurragh area of Longford town when he observed the defendant approaching.

“She crossed over the white line and then came back onto her right side of the road, and as a result of that my attention was brought to the vehicle,” said the Garda.

“I spoke to the defendant and there was a strong smell of cannabis coming from the vehicle; her eyes were bleary and when I asked her if she had cannabis, she said ‘yes, I smoked a joint two hours ago’.”

The court went on to hear that the defendant was subsequently arrested under Section 4 of the Road Traffic Act on suspicion of driving while under the influence.

Meanwhile, back at Longford garda Station, a doctor was called to attend to the defendant after a requirement was made from her to provide the medical professional with a specimen of blood or urine.

“A blood specimen was taken which was then sent for analysis to the Garda Medical Bureau and it proved positive for cannabis,” Garda Scanlon told the court.

In her direct evidence to the court, Ms Starzynska said that while she had smoked a joint on the morning of the incident, she felt she was still capable of driving the car.

“My smoking did not affect my driving,” the defendant added.

She also told Judge Hughes that she had been en route to the Mall and had cut through Deanscurragh from the Dublin Road which served as a shortcut onto the Ballinalee Road.

“I was surprised the Garda pulled me over to be honest.”

Defence solicitor John Quinn then told the court that if there was any doubt at all in the Judge’s mind about the case before him, that doubt should go to his client.

“But I am not under any doubt at all Mr Quinn,” replied Judge Hughes.

During his deliberations on the matter, the Judge said there was a clear conflict of evidence in the case before him.

She feels she didn’t vear of onto the middle of the road, but says she did smoke cannabis,” the Judge said.

“The law is the law and I have to find her guilty.

“This has serious consequences.”

The defendant was subsequently disqualified from driving for four years and fined €250 before matters were finally brought to a conclusion.