Perthshire Advertiser

Driver pulled over on A923 had drugs in system

- COURT REPORTER

A Perthshire man has been fined a three-figure sum and banned from the roads for ‘drug-driving’.

In one of the first cases of its kind to be dealt with at Perth Sheriff Court under new legislatio­n, a hearing was told Richard Sorokaniuk was pulled over by police shortly after 5pm on the A923 Coupar Angus Road, near Rosemount, because he was speeding.

But officers then detected a

“strong smell” of cannabis coming from the vehicle.

“He was required to provide a saliva test,” stated depute fiscal Sarah Wilkinson.

“It tested positive for cannabis and at 6.47pm a sample of blood was taken.”

It was analysed and subsequent­ly showed he had been behind the wheel with more than three times the legal limit of the class B drug in his system.

The accused, of Glenalmond Road, Rattray, admitted driving on November 17, 2019, with more than the permitted proportion of Delta-9-tetrahydro­cannabinoi­l in his blood.

The level of the illegal substance was 6.1 microgramm­es, well over the permitted amount of two microgramm­es.

Solicitor Mike Tavendale said: “He previously had a bit of an alcohol problem which unfortunat­ely resulted in unfortunat­e behavioura­l traits.”

As a substitute for drinking, he had started taking cannabis.

The court was told that had “improved his behaviour greatly” but ironically had resulted in him appearing in court.

‘Drug-driving’ has been an offence in England for the past five years but cases were only now beginning to be dealt with in Scotland in the wake of the legislatio­n coming into force in October last year.

Imposing a £500 fine and a 12-month driving ban, Sheriff Neil Bowie said: “Clearly the legislatio­n is there for a good reason because ingesting controlled substances leads to an impaired ability to drive.”

The sheriff said it was “much like alcohol” but not directly analagous.

He added: “Neverthele­ss, you were over the prescribed limit for these controlled substances and you were stopped for speeding.

“There was a smell of cannabis and police immediatel­y detained you.”

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