x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Driver high on marijuana blames UAE crash on second-hand smoke

Driver accused of being under the influence of marijuana when he caused a fatal crash blames second-hand smoke.

ABU DHABI // A driver who was under the influence of marijuana when he crashed, killing his cousin, told a court he was stoned from second-hand smoke.

MG, from Saudi Arabia, was high on the drug as he drove into the UAE from his home country with his cousin, prosecutors told the Criminal Court. He did not notice a roundabout in Sweihan and crashed into it at a speed of 140 kph, causing the car to flip and his cousin to be ejected from the vehicle.

In court yesterday, the driver denied purposely inhaling marijuana smoke, saying traces of the drug appeared in his urine sample because he had given a lift to a number of other passengers earlier in the journey - while still in Saudi Arabia - and that these passengers were smoking the drug. He said he offered the passengers a lift because their car had broken down and became stoned on their second-hand smoke.

The driver's uncle - who is the father of the dead man - waived his right to blood money, sending a signed document to the court via the driver's brother.

The driver's defence lawyer argued that the Criminal Court should not have jurisdiction over the case because the drug intake occurred outside UAE borders.

A verdict is expected on January 16.

hdajani@thenational.ae