‘You can’t fool the system’: Magistrate slams farmer’s claim

A BOWEN tomato farmer who claimed farming chemicals gave him a positive drug test and tried to take his case to trial twice has been slammed by a magistrate who told him "you can't fool the system".

Peter Charles Todd was intercepted by police along Peter Delemothe Rd, Bowen, on September 17, 2019.

A roadside drug test tested positive and Todd was taken to Bowen Hospital for further analysis, which found amphetamine, methylamphetamine, amiodarone and bisoprolol in his system.

Sgt Myors told Bowen Magistrates Court that Todd, 53, made no admissions to taking any substances and claimed to police that a chemical he used on his tomato farm, Metham, caused a false positive.

The court heard that a police forensic officer had determined that Metham had no similar chemical compounds to methamphetamine and there was no evidence to suggest that ingesting the chemical would convert it to methamphetamine.

Sgt Myors said Todd did not receive an early plea discount as he had tried to take the case to trial twice before pleading guilty and wasted police resources, who had to gather evidence and witnesses.

Magistrate James Morton told the court Todd had been "disowned" by his legal counsel days before one trial and subsequently tried to "throw sand in the machine" and employ the services of a doctor he believed could prove his false-positive claim.

Defence lawyer Ali Ladd said Todd, who has a heart condition, now accepted there were drugs in his system but offered no explanation as to how they got there.

Mr Morton called Todd a "clear drug user" with "more holes than Swiss cheese" in his story.

"The drugs didn't just fall into your mouth, did they?," he said.

"You're a clear drug user, you were convicted last year of drug driving in this very court, you have a very relevant history."

Ms Ladd said Todd accepted he was not entitled to an early plea of guilty, but suggested a diminished punishment as the case did not go to trial and no witnesses were called to testify.

Mr Morton slammed Todd and said he had wasted the court's time trying to "make a fool of the system".

"You have skirted around this issue for so long and tried to make a fool of the system but you didn't, did you?" he asked Todd.

"You wanted to try and fool everybody to think this chemical, Metham, was in your system and made you show positive for drugs. It didn't work though and here we are again.

"You appear to have a lot of responsibilities and a heart condition on top of all of that, one would question why you're a drug user at all with your heart condition.

"Get off the drugs, you're too old at 53 for drugs."

Todd was convicted and fined $800, with his licence disqualified for five months.