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By Hempology | March 30, 2006

Can’t Measure Pot’s Effect: Judge

OTTAWA — A man accused of toking and driving was found not guilty yesterday after a judge found there was no way to assess the effect that pot smoking might have had on the man.

“I don’t have any evidence as to the effect marijuana may have had on a person. How can one make that giant leap between proof of consumption and the effect of consumption?” said Justice Richard Lajoie as he found Stephen Ayotte, 33, not guilty of impaired driving.

Denied Smoking

Lajoie said he could not find impairment even if he accepted testimony by Const. Michael O’Reilly that the accused man confessed to smoking a couple of joints before his arrest on May 1, 2005. Ayotte, for his part, denied smoking any marijuana that day and denied making such an admission.

Lajoie said Ayotte’s evidence expanded the reasonable doubt in the case. He noted O’Reilly did not detect the odour of marijuana in Ayotte’s car or in the police cruiser when he arrested him.

Asked For Help

O’Reilly booked Ayotte after he was called to a residence around midnight. Ayotte had knocked on the doors of two homes asking for help for a flat tire. But the people who answered the door found Ayotte’s behaviour odd and called the police.

Ayotte testified he had had little sleep and little to eat in the four days leading up to the incident, as he was under intense stress due to the break up of his common-law marriage of nine years.

Following the verdict, Ayotte said he felt the judge’s decision had been fair.

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