26 Sept 2022

Mullingar District Court drugs charge struck out

Mullingar District Court drugs charge struck out

A drugs prosecution before Mullingar District Court was struck out when the State body providing Gardaí with forensic and technical analysis refused to analyse a single tablet because of lab backlogs.
Thomas McDonagh (34) of 2 O'Connell's Terrace, Mullingar, Westmeath was charged with the unlawful possession of MDMA in Mullingar on October 31, 2021.

Sergeant Kevin O'Brien told Judge Bernadette Owens the prosecution could not go ahead as Forensic Science Ireland refused to analyse just one tablet.

Forensic Science Ireland (FSI) is an associated office of the Department of Justice. The people working at FSI are mainly trained scientists and analysts supported by administration staff. They use science in the investigation of crime and produce expert reports to support justice.

In May of last year it was flagged the increase in drug seizures created a backlog of 6,000 samples at FSI and Gardaí expressed the concern that this could derail drugs prosecutions.

At Thursday's sitting of Mullingar District Court Sg O'Brien said there was a dispute as to whether the tablet in question was a prescription medication or what the prosecution believed was “an illegally bought drug”.

The sergeant said because of considerable backlog in FSI's labs they were unable to analyse the tablet. Judge Owens struck the matter out.

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