JUDGE John King has ordered Ian Bailey’s legal team to lodge written submissions at Bantry District Court in connection with drugs charges.
Ian Bailey pleaded not guilty to charges of 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.
The court heard that on Sunday, August 25th 2019, while conducting a road traffic checkpoint three miles from the village of Schull in West Cork, Sgt Kevin Heffernan stopped a car when he noticed that the driver was not wearing a safety belt.
The driver of the car was Ian Bailey (63) of The Prairie, Liscaha, Schull and Sgt Heffernan told Judge King that there was a strong smell of drink when he spoke to Mr Bailey. He then formed the opinion that he was driving under the influence of alcohol and breathalysed him at the scene. Mr Bailey failed the breathalyser test and was arrested.
Ian Bailey was then taken to Bantry Garda Station, while his car was left at the roadside.
At Bantry Garda Station, Ian Bailey was searched by Garda Gary Coakley and a small tin, containing what turned out to be cannabis, was found. Sgt Heffernan was informed and formed the opinion that Mr Bailey was driving under the influence of cannabis.
Ian Bailey was tested once more for alcohol and was found to be below the legal limit as per the evidenzer test at the station. However, he was then tested for cannabis and failed this test.
The results of the blood test, which were received back at Bantry Garda Station on August 29th 2019, revealed 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.
Mr Bailey said that the metal tin had been left by someone at his market stall for him and when questioned as to what was in the tin, he told gardaí that he assumed it was cannabis. He was asked if the gardaí, under section 23 of the Misuse of Drugs act, searched his car, would they find anymore? To which Mr Bailey told Sgt Heffernan that, ‘no they should not find any more.’
Ian Bailey was then dropped home by gardaí. The following day Sgt Heffernan searched Ian Bailey’s car, which he had removed to Schull Garda Station the night before.
Sgt Heffernan discovered two tin boxes, one containing two rolled joints and the other which held three cigars and one rolled joint.
Mr Bailey came to Schull Garda Station to retrieve his car where he was cautioned. Here, he told Sgt Heffernan that the cannabis was for his own personal use and declined to name the person who had given him the drugs.
Barrister for Ian Bailey, Emmet Boyle, said that the search conducted at Bantry Garda Station was not carried out under Section 23 of the Misuse of Drugs Act and was therefore unlawful.
Mr Boyle said that he also had issues with the way Ian Bailey’s car was searched. He asked the court why his client’s keys were withheld from him when he was released and why had Sgt Heffernan then taken his car to Schull Garda Station where it remained overnight. The barrister went on to say that he had a number of issues with garda procedures. Mr Boyle claimed that Sgt Heffernan formed his opinion that his client was driving under the influence of cannabis ‘retrospectively’.
Judge King ordered written submissions in connection to the search on Ian Bailey was carried out at Bantry Garda Station and how Sgt Heffernan formed his opinion that Mr Bailey had been driving under the influence of drugs.
And he also requested written submissions concerning the record of Ian Bailey’s interview after his release, and the search of his car the following day in Schull.
The case has been adjourned until December 10th for mention only.