'I’ve fried my brain,' death car driver says
BENJAMIN DAVIS, on trial in the Lismore District Court for causing the death of his Ballina girlfriend in a road smash at Wardell, yesterday revealed he had a serious drug habit.
He said he could have smoked as many as 30 bongs on the day before the fatal accident.
However, he denied smoking on the day of the accident
Davis, 24, is charged with dangerous driving under the influence of cannabis on December 17, 2007, causing the death of Taylia Roberts-Simpson; and negligent driving causing death.
Ms Roberts-Simpson, 17, died in a Gold Coast hospital on December 29, 2007, as a result of her crash injuries.
The Crown prosecutor told Judge James Black, in the judge alone trial, the issue was whether at the time of impact with another vehicle Davis had been driving while under the influence of the drug cannabis..
The Crown said Davis and Ms Roberts-Simpson visited her mother before driving to Cabbage Tree Island and Wardell that afternoon.
About 5pm, Davis drove from the BP service station on to Fitzroy Street at Wardell and after stopping at a give way sign at the intersection with the Pacific Highway he intended to make a right turn on to the highway towards Ballina.
As he drove on to the highway his Commodore collided with a southbound Holden Rodeo.
Both Davis and his girlfriend were trapped in the wreckage when police arrived. Analysis of his blood sample taken two hours after the accident revealed the presence of cannabis in his system.
Davis told the court he had smoked cannabis almost daily since he was 14 or 15, and had even smoked when in jail, getting out just seven months before the crash.
“I smoke around 10 grams a day,” he said.
“I was not just smoking it, I was ingesting it through cookies.”
Davis strongly denied smoking any cannabis on the day of the crash, saying he and his girlfriend had no money and went for a drive.
Questioned by the Crown prosecutor about what he had been doing the day before the crash, Davis said he remembered having cannabis, but was not sure exactly how much.
He said it could have been more than 10 bongs, and possibly as many as 20 bongs, before saying that while he could not remember the exact number, 50 was possible. Davis then said it wouldn’t have been 50, but conceded it could have been close to 30.
He denied smoking cannabis at Cabbage Tree Island on the day of the crash. “It’s not possible. I don’t smoke with those people. I smoke in Ballina. It’s not possible. I had no money,” he said.
Davis was open about his drug habit, telling the court that what he smoked depended on how much money he had.
“I’ve fried my brain. I can’t remember (what happened that day),” he said.
NSW Police forensic scientist Dr William Allender said the amount of cannabis found in Davis’ blood would affect most people, if not all, and would impair their driving skills.
He said cannabis intake had an immediate effect on the body and for drivers it would reduce their reaction times and affect their ability to judge distances and their ability to keep their vehicle within their lane. They would tend to weave within the lane, he said.
Dr Allender said he could not tell if Davis’ blood reading suggested regular use of cannabis, but it did indicate recent use. He had seen levels that were much higher. The trial will be mentioned today to set a date for Judge Black’s decision.