A TAXI driver who claimed he was the unwitting victim of a contaminated vape pen has failed in his bid to get his driving licence back after he was caught drug driving.

Timothy Duckitt, 58, was “stoned” on cannabis as he drove much faster than the speed limit, York Crown Court heard.

He was convicted of drug driving and banned from driving at York Magistrates' Court last year.

He appealed to the higher court to have his ban removed.

He claimed that he had been the unwitting victim of a contaminated vape pen and hadn’t realised he had cannabis in his body when he was driving.

But after listening to him and a defence witness, Judge Simon Hickey and two magistrates rejected his account.

Judge Hickey said Duckitt had known that he was high on drugs when he was pulled over.

“He had ingested cannabis late at night, he was stoned, and the reason he was driving a van far too fast was he was under the influence of drugs,” he said.

They dismissed Duckitt’s appeal against his driving ban.

Duckitt, of Hanover Road East, off Leeman Road, York, did not appeal against his conviction for drug driving. He remains banned from the roads and cannot work as a taxi driver.

A driver is guilty of drug driving if he or she fails a drug test. A court can exceptionally not impose a driving ban if the driver can produce evidence to convince it that he or she could not have known he or she had taken drugs before driving.

Reading a police statement, prosecution barrister Brooke Morrison said Duckitt had been driving “much quicker” than the 30mph limit on Huntington Road at 1.35am on May 26, 2021.

After being arrested, Duckitt provided a sample of blood which when analysed gave a reading of 5.3 micrograms of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive element of cannabis.

The legal limit is 2 micrograms, said the barrister.

Duckitt alleged that before driving, he had smoked a vape pen containing cannabidiol (CBD) oil to see if it would act as a painkiller and did not think it contained cannabis. He had felt fine before driving, he alleged.In cross-examination, Duckitt said he had been a user of cannabis in the past. That, said Ms Morrison, meant that he knew the effects of cannabis on his body.

Defence witness Richard Daniel Hughes, of the same address, alleged he had smoked the pen with a cannabis oil containing THC before filling it with CBD oil and handing it to Duckitt.

Ms Morrison said Duckitt had not told the police officer about the CBD oil when asked about food, drink and drugs he had consumed that night.

She told Duckitt the reason was “that was a story that you made up later”.

She also said the drug test reading was too high to be the result of cannabis traces.