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[SA] Have you heard/read this tripe?

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by BitSar, Jun 26, 2015.

  1. I am just astounded.......

    So basically if you're not drunk and are doing less than the speed limit you can maim children whilst tapped out on Meth and go on your merry fcuking way.

    What a disgrace.

    Drug-driving mother acquitted of dangerous driving despite running red light and hitting 12yo boy
    Leah Jane Lenarczyk outside court ... she was acquitted of dangerous driving after running a red light and hitting a child.
    A MOTHER who seriously injured a boy when she ran a red light has been acquitted of a dangerous-driving charge by a judge who took into account expert evidence that the methylamphetamine in her system may have had a “positive effect” on her abilities behind the wheel.

    Leah Jane Lenarczyk, who the District Court heard has an “appalling” driving record, had just picked up her own three children from school when she hit the boy, 12, about 4.05pm on November 8, 2012.

    District Court Judge Barry Beazley on Thursday found her guilty of the lesser charge of driving without due care, because it was not proved the “mid level” recording of the drug in her system caused any adverse effect to her driving.

    “I remind myself that this is not a court of morals,” he said, pointing out that the fact that the accused had consumed an illicit drug was of no relevance, unless it had an adverse effect upon her driving.

    “Further, the court must not be influenced by the obvious sympathy for the welfare of (the victim) and his family.

    Judge Barry Beazley.

    “This trial concerns the question as to whether the prosecution has proved beyond reasonable doubt that the accused had driven her vehicle in a culpably negligent manner or in a manner dangerous to the public, thereby causing serious harm.”

    The court had heard the boy suffered a broken leg, a collapsed lung, abdominal injuries, skull fractures and cuts to his face after Lenarczyk, 39, of Highbury, smashed into him as he made his way through a pedestrian crossing along The Grove Way, Salisbury Heights.

    Judge Beazley said that during the trial, University of South Australia professor of pharmacology Jason White, and clinical forensic toxicologist Michael Robertson had concurred that methylamphetamine, an illegal stimulant often called “speed”, can have both positive and negative effects on driving ability.

    “Both experts distinguished methylamphetamine from other drugs such as alcohol, confirming that in the case of methylamphetamine, the effect upon an individual’s driving ability cannot be reliably predicted on the basis of drug levels alone,” he said.

    “I have referred to their evidence that some effects can be positive, including improved alertness as contrasted with fatigue and drowsiness associated with alcohol and some other drugs.”

    The judge also said that “while I readily accept that it will have some effect, that effect may indeed be positive in assisting the concentration of a driver”.

    Lenarczyk had no alcohol in her blood at the time of the crash and was travelling about 55km/h — 5km/h under the limit — when she hit the boy.

    Judge Beazley said both experts had described methylamphetamine as a stimulant.

    “He (Dr Robertson) explained that its ‘positive’ effect, when consumed, included improved alertness and concentration, as contrasted with the effects of alcohol.

    “He explained that the ‘negative’ effects include sweating, dilated pupils, elevated blood pressure, nausea, restlessness, confusion and even psychosis at high doses.”

    Judge Beazley said two trained police officers were with Lenarczyk for about two hours after the crash and they had reported she had shown no such symptoms.

    “Those officers were trained officers who took the compulsory blood tests but not one mentioned any sign of sweating, irritability, restlessness, aggression or anything suggesting fatigue.”
    Judge Beazley said Dr Robertson had said high doses of the drug may cause increased confidence in risk taking, increased arousal leading to agitation and hyperexcitability, irrational thinking and paranoia, but Lenarczyk had not displayed any of these symptoms either.

    In contrast, he said that Dr Robertson had testified that low concentrations of methamphetamine may have relatively little effect upon driving and could actually have the potential to improve driving performance.

    “He said that a positive effect of methylamphetamine was ‘to increase alertness and associated with that is a decrease in fatigue’. It is sometimes used to reverse the effects of fatigue.”

    Judge Beazley said he was “positively satisfied that the accused was not so affected by methylamphetamine that she was incapable of effective control of her motor vehicle”.

    “This case highlights the difficulties confronting experts in determining, what effect, if any, can be inferred from a level of methylamphetamine found in the blood of a driver.

    “This has led the West Australian Parliament to place the ‘onus upon an accused to prove that a collision was not in any way attributable to the affect of a drug’.

    “No such provision exists in South Australia.”

    The Motor Accident Commission would not comment on the specifics of the case but reminded motorists drug driving was illegal.

    Judge Beazley will hear sentencing submissions for Lenarczyk next month.

    • Agree Agree x 4
  2. #2 chillibutton, Jun 26, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2015
    But hell don't be 3km over the speed limit.... :(

    Sometimes these judges seem to be so far removed from everyday life. And totally lacking in common sense. Its not even funny...
    • Like Like x 1
  3. “He said that a positive effect of methylamphetamine was ‘to increase alertness and associated with that is a decrease in fatigue" but not enough to recognise a red light apparently
    • Agree Agree x 1
  4. What a wonderful mother, I feel for her three kids as well as the victim. My mum is a junkie who runs over kids, great start in life.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  5. With that logic, maybe the police should be handing out meth at rest stops and RBTs.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  6. Surely if you've run a red light and hit someone that's proof enough that you were driving dangerously. I don't understand....
    • Agree Agree x 1
  7. Handy to know that methylamphetamine can make us all better divers. The young boy was very fortunate that this lady had this in her system. God only knows what the outcome may have been had she been not on drugs!

    I also wonder what conclusion the judge would have come if it had been his young son that had been hit by this 'don't give a shite' mother?

  8. "Driving dangerously" has a fairly specific definition in the legal/criminal arena; a threshold has to be crossed. She was acquitted of Driving Dangerously but still charged with Driving Without Due Care (a lesser charge).

    I'm gonna be unpopular for saying this, judging by the comments above but... Regarding acquittal re: drug presence in her system. If doing something illegal at the time (e.g. speeding, using drugs, talking on a mobile phone, doing a sick wheelie) didn't actually have an influence on how the accident occurred, then the Court won't consider it in apportioning blame because it wouldn't have changed the outcome. There probably will be charges laid separately to do with the illegal behaviour, but for the purposes of apportioning blame in considering "car vs child", it's irrelevant.

    Flippant hypothetical example - Say we make it illegal to wear a yellow T-shirt while driving. Someone runs a red light and T-bones you, but it's found that you're wearing a yellow T-shirt. Are you at fault in that car crash?

    And it cuts both ways - A few years ago we discussed a judgement from the UK where a motorcyclist exceeding the posted speed limit by a good margin whilst filtering got T-boned by a turning car. The motorcyclist had no fault apportioned to him by the Judge even though he was speeding, because it was concluded that the outcome would have been the same regardless and the driver hadn't looked for approaching vehicles.

    *dons flame-resistant suit*
    • Agree Agree x 6
    • Informative Informative x 1
  9. I understand the law works in often mysterious ways. BUT - in that case why waste taxpayer money on "drugs are for mugs" and all other "no drugs on the roads" campaigns? If they (the government) make it illegal, advertise this point strongly and have drug buses out in force, take people who test positive off the road and charge them, etc - then why not have this positive drugs test (in her case) as a contributing factor in this instance. Seems to miss the whole point IMO, but then again I'm not a lawyer or judge and I do have a lick of common sense.
  10. They are a strange bunch, those South Australians, the slide started with Don Dunstan and his pink safari suits.....
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Hoy, settle down you.
    • Funny Funny x 1
  12. SpotsSpots I may be somewhat of a simpleton, but i'm pretty sure if she'd have not done something illegal, with or without drugs - as in ignoring the red light - then the outcome would have been considerably changed.
  13. If you believe drugs are always a problem then you're a pawn in one of the government's endless games. Judge came to a reasonable conclusion regarding the drug based on the evidence available, I actually saw this as triumph of common sense.
    That you in your avatar? Some might question your integrity on that basis.
  14. Why? I've got a 50 metre plus driveway, how do know he wasn't just 'popping' up to my place?
  15. If a cop saw and was a wanker it likely wouldn't have mattered :p
  16. Oh hornethornet . Just because he was gay...

    I understand both points of view expressed here. Personally, I think if a driver is under the influence of anything, then they are entirely culpable for what happens. I wouldn't drive or ride after drinking, and drugs are no different in my view.
  17. I don't get it, the expert witnesses stated and the judge agreed that the drugs could have hindered or assisted, so there is a fifty-fifty chance of it being a contributing factor. She ran a red light - doesn't that in itself put the balance of probability on the negative side, even if it was the smallest of percentages, so therefore how can it be dismissed when there is no longer a majority of weight on the "assisted" argument.

    Only "good" thing to come out of this judgement is that she now owes her lawyers a sheit load for getting her off, I hope their bill is in the 5 figure category.
  18. The US Air Force (among others) would routinely give their combat and long distance pilots speed to improve their alertness, endurance and overall performance. It is also not that long ago that it was commonly prescribed as a weight loss medication. Long distance truck drivers used to be big users of the stuff until random drug testing started.

    Yes, it was often abused and the side effects can be brutal, particularly from the crappy black market stuff with who knows what impurities.

    That said, she should not have been acquitted of dangerous driving regardless of drug usage. I can see the government appealing against this ruling or getting her on other charges.
  19. Yep, and she's been deemed guilty of Driving Without Due Care accordingly, to be sentenced at a later date. She dun goofed, but she didn't goof enough to get Driving Dangerously.
  20. Speed as given to US servicemen was the drug called Benzedrine. It is a different creature to methamphetamine. Benzedrine does not lead to the kind of psychosis we see from methamphetamine, or the extreme reactions. If every meth user was on Benzedrine instead, we would not be having an "ice" crisis.