19 May 2022

Naas judge says Garda sniffer dogs are identifying drugs faster than State scientists


Judge Zaidan.

Judge Desmond Zaidan

A judge has criticised the delay identifying illegal drugs so that prosecutions can take place.

At a Naas District Court sitting on September 15 Judge Desmond Zaidan referred to a seven month delay in analysing the substance at the heart of one case.

He said a grada sniffer dog could immediately identify the presence of a drug yet Forensic Science Ireland is, in many cases,  taking lengthy periods to confirm the identities of drugs found.

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He was speaking as Sgt Jim Kelly sought an adjournment of a case because a certificate from FSI was not before the court.

While FSI analyses the actual drug, the gardaí use a system of assessing the street value of individual drug finds.

“My court cannot be used to protect the State,” said the judge, noting that in this case it has taken seven months for a cert tobe issued.

“The garda sniffer dog would do it in seconds,” he added. 

He also said that representations should be made to the Department of Justice about the hold-up.

St Kelly replied that the issue is “out of my hands” and he cannot proceed with the case without the cert. 

Judge Zaidan conceded to an adjournment but indicated he will consider striking the matter out if the State is unable to proceed next time.

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