Man claimed drug detection was ‘due to transplant operation’

Limerick Courthouse
A TRANSPLANT recipient who was prosecuted for drug driving claimed the presence of cannabis in his blood could have been caused by toxins associated with his transplant operation.

A TRANSPLANT recipient who was prosecuted for drug driving claimed the presence of cannabis in his blood could have been caused by toxins associated with his transplant operation.

Kieran Birrane, aged 38, of Cosgrave Park, Moyross represented himself during a hearing at Limerick Court, which related to an incident on the Dock Road on March 29, 2012.

Garda Brian Duddy of the divisional traffic corps said he was dealing with a minor road accident shortly after 2am when he observed a car “swerving back and over” as it was being driven on the Dock Road.

He said when he stopped the vehicle and spoke to the driver - Mr Birrane - there was a strong smell of cannabis. Garda Duddy added that the defendant’s pupils were dilated.

Mr Birrane was arrested and taken to Henry Street garda station where he provided a sample of his blood to a doctor.

Judge Eugene O’Kelly was told an analysis of the sample showed that while there was a “nil” reading for alcohol, cannabis was detected.

In his evidence, Mr Birrane told the court that Garda Duddy had been correct to stop him on the night as he was “incapable of driving” as his system “had started shutting down”.

He said he received a Kidney transplant in 2006 but that the organ is no longer working properly.

He told the court he could not explain the presence of cannabis in his blood but said he had taken “medication to keep him alive” a number of hours before being stopped.

“There are strange things in my system, there are toxins in my blood due to the operation,” he told Insp Seamus Ruane under cross examination.

Judge Eugene O’Kelly said he had some sympathy for Mr Birrane’s condition, which prevents him from working.

However, he convicted him of the charge and disqualified him from driving for four years. He also imposed a €200 fine.