A newly appointed teaching assistant was caught driving her uninsured car whilst under the influence of cannabis because she was “self-medicating”, a court heard. Mother-of-one Hayley Ord, 41, was tested more than twice the drug-drive limit after traffic police stopped her Toyota Aygo X-Play vehicle as she was driving along a main road near Everton’s Goodison Park football ground.
Ord, from Walton, Liverpool, later claimed she had been smoking the drug to “self-medicate” due to her having anxiety and she needed a car to take her five-year-old daughter to school. But she was banned from driving for 12 months and is now expected to lose a teaching post which she was offered in recent weeks.
At Sefton magistrates court Ord wept as she pleaded guilty to driving with 4.7micrograms of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in her blood and driving with no insurance. THC is the principal active ingredient in cannabis and the legal limit is 2mcg/l.
She had appeared in custody having been arrested after failing to attend court on an earlier occasion.
Arron Smith prosecuting said Ord had been stopped at 10pm on the A59 County Road, Walton, on September 10 of last year.
He added: “Officers were on mobile patrol and had cause to stop a vehicle as it was being driven with no insurance. Miss Ord was known as the driver. There was the smell of cannabis noted and the officers asked for a roadside drug wipe which showed positive for cannabis.
“She was arrested and taken into custody where she consented to give a sample of blood for analysis.
“The reading was 4.7 micrograms per litre of blood of delta-9-tetrahyrdocannabinol in her system, above the legal limit of 2.”
Mr Smith told the court that Ord had two convictions on record for three offences, none of which were driving related.
In mitigation defence lawyer Katie Bennett said: “In relation to driving with no insurance she says that she believed that she had money in her bank account but there had been some sort of error and the money had not come out.
“The insurers had notified her to tell her that her insurance had unfortunately been cancelled. She states that she had not received the email saying that she no longer had insurance.
“She states that she was unaware that she was not insured. She understands that is not a defence. In relation to drug driving. She believed the drugs would be out of her system.
“She had taken some early that morning to self-medicate. She was having problems getting her medication.
“She suffers from a general anxiety disorder and she says cannabis helps her function more than the prescribed medication does. But she believed that it would be out of her system. Unfortunately, it was not. She has no previous drug driving convictions.
Miss Bennett told the court that the mandatory driving ban will create difficulties for Ord as she takes her five-year-old daughter to school.
“She has received a job offer as a teaching assistant,” the solicitor added, “However, given the disqualification she may not be able to take the job now given that it is too much of a struggle to get to the school from her home address.
“I ask that you keep the disqualification to a minimum. There was no evidence of bad driving. Obviously driving with no insurance is an aggravating feature.”
Ord was fined £200 with £200 costs. District Judge Wendy Lloyd told her: “Cannabis is illegal, that’s the end of it. Self-medicating sounds all very well but it does mean you are using illegal drugs. It is up to you to go and see the doctor for your condition – and not resort to using street drugs. You had twice the legal limit of drugs in your system. You were not fit to drive.”