Ian Bailey appeal of drug driving conviction adjourned

Ian Bailey appeal of drug driving conviction adjourned

Former Journalist Ian Bailey has had the appeal of his drug driving conviction adjourned until later this month. Picture Dan Linehan

Former Journalist Ian Bailey has had the appeal of his drug driving conviction adjourned until later this month.

At a sitting of Cork Circuit Appeals Court in Skibbereen, Co Cork today State Solicitor, Malachy Boohig applied for the hearing of the appeal to be adjourned until October 22nd. 

The case was adjourned by Judge Eoin Garavan to a sitting of Anglesea Street courthouse in Cork city on that date.

Mr Bailey was not required to be in court for the call over of the list this morning. 

It is expected the case may well be further adjourned until the New Year as Counsel for Mr Bailey, Emmet Boyle, said his client may be unable to attend on October 22nd. 

Boyle was granted liberty to adjourn further if the need arises. It is thought the case will take half a day.

Background to appeal 

In May of this year, Mr Bailey was disqualified from driving for one year and fined €700 after being convicted of drug driving at a hearing in Bantry District Court following his arrest near Schull in West Cork nearly two years ago.

The 64-year-old had faced four charges arising out of his arrest on August 25th, 2019.

Mr Bailey, of the Prairie, Lisscaha in Schull in West Cork 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 possession of cannabis.

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

Mr Bailey was found with a small tin of cannabis on his person following his arrest at a garda checkpoint in West Cork.

He was arrested on suspicion of drink driving, having failed a roadside breath test, but he then passed the evidenzer test at Bantry Garda Station.

The court heard that Mr Bailey had failed an oral fluid test and that blood samples taken by a doctor at Bantry Garda Station later tested positive for the presence of cannabis.

Mr Bailey had been stopped at a checkpoint in Schull shortly after 8pm on August 25th, 2019.

He said that the cannabis found on his person was for "personal use" and that 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 they searched the vehicle.

Emmet Boyle, Defending Barrister, raised a number of issues in relation to the case. 

These included how gardaí came to uncover the cannabis both on the person of his client Mr Bailey and in his car.

The Junior Counsel also mentioned other aspects of the garda probe including why 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.

Garda procedures defended 

Insp Ian O'Callaghan, prosecuting, defended the garda procedures. He said the roadside procedures were "totally correct" and that once cannabis had been found on Mr Bailey in the search an experienced officer, had correctly formed the opinion that Mr Bailey may have been driving under the influence of a drug.

He said it was "entirely logical" to deduce this and "the Sgt's opinion was proved correct", referring to the results of the subsequent analysis.

Insp O'Callaghan said it was "standard practice" that prisoners be searched at a garda station. He said " at all times" the keys to Mr Bailey's car were in garda custody and that "it is the state's view that all procedures were done correctly.”

 The blood sample taken from Mr Bailey showed 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 drug seized was also confirmed as cannabis by the Forensic Science Laboratory.

Last May at Bantry District Court Judge John King dismissed the charge of possession of cannabis in Mr Bailey's car stating that gardaí had not observed the statutory requirements in detaining the car. However, he convicted Mr Bailey on the other three charges.

Judge King said Mr Bailey had been adequately informed regarding the search of his person at the garda station.

Barrister for Mr Bailey, Emmet Boyle, said that that driving disqualification faced by his client would "weigh heavily on him" given that he lived in rural setting.

He said that Bailey's earnings were of a "lower order" and told the court that his client was on social welfare.

Judge King convicted Mr Bailey of drug-driving and fined him €400. On possession of cannabis he convicted him and fined him €300.

Recognisance for an appeal was set at Mr Bailey's own bond of €200. An appeal was lodged.

Mr Bailey last year successfully fought extradition to France after he was convicted in absentia of the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier.

Mr Bailey never travelled to France to give evidence with his legal team deeming it to be a show trial.

The Law graduate has always protested his innocence in relation to the murder of the French woman.

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