Passive smoking costly for driver

A TEENAGE student busted for driving under the influence of cannabis had not been smoking the drug but only inhaled the smoke of friends in his car, a Lismore court was told.

Defence lawyer Paul Denmeade described the offence as being a warning to other drivers.

Appearing in Lismore Local Court this week to plead guilty to the matter, the now 18-year-old was a P-plated driver and aged 17 when charged.

Mr Denmeade said it was an unusual case because his client’s friends had been on their way to a doof party and smoking marijuana inside his car, which he had simply inhaled.

“Not realising the cannabis he’s inhaled in the motor vehicle would then show up in a test,” Mr Denmeade argued.

“It is a warning to people.”

Magistrate Robyn Denes inquired if he was interested in completing the Traffic Offenders’ Program, as being a provisional driver it would be of benefit to him.

“Call me a bit cynical about his explanation, as well,” she said.

Mr Denmeade added: “Marijuana can last in your system up to three months.”

Ms Denes said the offence happened at 11am and the teenage driver told police he inhaled the drug at 3am.

The magistrate said ‘forgive me’ but she questioned whether he had been the only one in the car not partaking of the marijuana and if so ‘one would think he would say go out there and smoke, not in my car’.

Mr Denmeade said there was no reading (before the court) to indicate the level of the drug in the teenager’s system but his client was the (designated) driver that night so had not drunk any alcohol and believed himself to be sober.

Ms Denes adjourned sentencing him until August 16 to allow him time to complete the traffic program.

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