Drug-driving solicitor was 'almost 17 times the legal limit' on A27


A drug-driving solicitor has been disqualified for 15 months after he was found to be almost 17 times the legal limit on the A27, according to Sussex Police.

Police said James Owo, 52, 'repeatedly denied' having taken drugs after he was pulled over on the A27 near Fontwell on January 21, after the Mercedes B160 he was driving showed as being uninsured.

Owo was found to be almost 17 times the legal limit, police revealed.

A spokesman said: "When officers approached the vehicle they detected a pungent smell they suspected to be cannabis; Owo was therefore required to undergo a roadside DrugWipe test which he failed.

"On closer inspection of his person and his vehicle, a small quantity of white powder and several small quantities of herbal cannabis were discovered.

"Owo was arrested and taken into custody where he provided a reading of 169mcg of methylamphetamine per litre of blood in his system. The legal limit is 10mcg."

Police said Owo, a solicitor of Binfield Road, London, was subsequently arrested and charged with drug-driving, driving with no insurance, possession of a Class B drug (cannabis) and possession of a Class A drug (methylamphetamine).

At South London Magistrates’ Court on August 5, he was disqualified from driving for 15 months, fined £350, and ordered to pay £85 costs and a £35 victim surcharge, police confirmed.

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Arresting officer PC Tom Van Der Wee, of the Sussex Roads Policing Unit, condemned the 'hugely irresponsible' actions of the driver and said it was 'fortunate Owo didn’t kill himself or someone else that night'.

He added: “If we suspect someone has been driving under the influence of drugs, we will require them to undergo a roadside DrugWipe test which involves taking a swab of the suspect’s mouth and tongue.

“Owo repeatedly denied having taken any drugs, but our tests proved otherwise. During this process, he obliged by putting his tongue out for me to take a swab sample.

"However, when I told him to put his tongue back in his mouth, he was unable to do so without the use of his fingers. This further indicated to me that he was clearly under the influence of drugs.

“We will continue to respond to reports of drink and drug-drivers 365 days a year as we aim to keep all road users safe, and deal robustly with those who break the law and put other innocent road users’ lives at risk.”

Sussex Police said people who drive under the influence of drink or drugs should prepare to face; a minimum 12 month ban; an unlimited fine; a possible prison sentence; a criminal record, which could affect your current and future employment; an increase in your car insurance and trouble travelling to countries such as the USA.

The spokesman said: "People in Sussex can text officers on 65999 with the details of people they suspect of drink or drug-driving, or visit the Operation Crackdown website.

"You can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or report it online.

"If you know someone is driving while over the limit or after taking drugs, call 999."