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RTA 1988 section 4, Campbletown Sheriff Court, October 2016

Our client was being prosecuted for a contravention of section 4 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (driving while unfit through drink or drugs).

Initially the evidence of an RTA 1988 section 4 offence seemed strong. The police claimed they had observed our client driving in an erratic manner. On pulling him over, they claimed his speech was slurred, his pupils were dilated and he was unsteady on his feet. These are all signs of driving under the influence of drink or drugs. Our client passed a breath test but was thereafter taken to the police station with the view of providing blood.

Prior to taking blood, the police should carry out (or have a doctor carry out) impairment tests. A doctor was contacted. Our client actually passed the impairment tests but, for reasons that we were very suspicious of, a blood sample was nevertheless taken. The results eventually came back indicating that our client had a very small amount of cannabis in his blood stream. When we investigated this, we discovered that the amount was so small that it was consistent with passive smoking. The Crown requires to prove not only that driving was impaired but that it was impaired due to drugs and not another reason (such as fatigue). Our position was that such a small intake of drugs could not explain the impaired driving. We also remained critical of the decision to take blood and questioned its legality.

At the 11th hour of this case, the Crown decided it was taking no further action against our client.