Ian Bailey appears in court on charges relating to cannabis possession and drug driving 

Ian Bailey appears in court on charges relating to cannabis possession and drug driving 

Ian Bailey at Bantry Court, Co Cork

A court has heard that a small tin of cannabis was found on Ian Bailey when he was searched in a garda station having earlier been stopped at a checkpoint, and that he told gardaí someone had earlier "left it" for him at his market stall.

Bantry District Court also heard that Mr Bailey told gardaí when informed that the drugs had been found on his person that it was for "personal use" and that a search of his car should not turn up any more cannabis.

However, when gardaí searched his car the morning after his initial arrest, three rolled-up joints were found in a compartment in the centre dash.

Mr Bailey, 63 and with an address at the Prairie, Liscaha, Schull, has pleaded not guilty to four charges - 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 possession of cannabis - at Skull, Schull on August 25 last year.

His barrister, Emmet Boyle, raised a number of issues over how gardaí came to find the drugs, both on Mr Bailey in Bantry Garda Station and later in his car, as well as other aspects of the garda investigation, including why the arresting garda retained Mr Bailey'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.

Judge John King will now take written submissions on some of those arguments and the matter will return before the court next month.

During the hearing this afternoon, Sgt Kevin Heffernan told the judge that at the checkpoint he first noted Mr Bailey was not wearing his seatbelt. During a conversation with him he then got a strong smell of intoxicating liquor.

Mr Bailey said he had had a pint earlier with a meal and was tired.

He failed a roadside breath test but later passed a test with the evidenzer at the garda station.

However, while at the station during a search a small tin with suspected cannabis was found on him.

Sgt Heffernan told the court that in a cautioned interview Mr Bailey said: "Someone left it at the market stall.

"They said 'it's for you' and they left it."

He told Garda Heffernan it was "green stuff" and as to whether he knew what it was he said "not exactly but it looks like cannabis".

"I assume it is cannabis and I was in possession of it," he said.

Mr Bailey said he didn't know the name of the person who left it with him and when asked by Sgt Heffernan whether more would be found in his car he replied: "No, you shouldn't."

Mr Bailey was dropped home and Sgt Heffernan retained his car keys. He went back to Skull, took the car to Schull Garda Station where it remained overnight, before searching it at 8am the next day.

He found three cannabis joints in the car and Mr Bailey was informed when he came to collect his car shortly after noon.

In a cautioned memo of interview that afternoon it was put to him that three cannabis joints had been found in his car and that it was his Mr Bailey said: "Yes, it is. For personal use, yes". He declined to comment as to who had given the cannabis to him.

The blood sample was posted to the MBRS - with Mr Bailey retaining one sample - and the results returned on October 29 last year, showing a reading of 2.7ng/ml for D9 Tetrahydrocannabinol (cannabis) where the limit is 1ng/ml and 19.5ng/ml for 11-nor-9-carboxy-D9-tetrahydrocannabinol (cannabis) where the limit is 5ng/ml.

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

However, Mr Boyle raised a number of issues around garda procedures and how they were followed, claiming the forming of opinion by Sgt Heffernan that Mr Bailey may have been driving under the influence of cannabis was "retrospective" and nothing in the earlier custody record of garda risk assessment had outlined any reasons why it could be formed.

Judge King asked for written submissions regarding the initial search on Mr Bailey conducted at Bantry Garda Station, the formation of the opinion that Mr Bailey had been driving under the influence of drugs as per Section 13 (A) of the Act, the memo of interview after his release, and the subsequent search of his car after Garda Heffernan had retained the keys to the vehicle.

The case will return before the Judge for mention on December 10.

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