herald

Wednesday 22 November 2017

Drugged pizza victim fights Army sacking

A SOLDIER who was the victim of a prank in which a pizza he ate was "spiked" with cannabis has now been refused an extension of his Army contract, the High Court heard.

Two years ago, Private John White (32), of Beldoo, Strabane, Co Tyrone, brought a successful High Court challenge to his discharge after testing positive for drugs because of the prank by an acquaintance. A judge ruled that the decision to discharge him was "fundamentally flawed" and fair procedures had not been followed.

Yesterday, the High Court heard that after returning to his career, Pte White later sought an extension of service but was refused.

It was an attempt by his authorities to say "you beat us in the High Court and we are getting you this way", Pte White's counsel, Ross Maguire, told the court yesterday.

In his 2008 case, the court heard he had tested positive for cannabis following a random drug test at Finner Camp, Donegal, on October 6, 2005.

Sometime later, he was approached by an acquaintance who explained to him that, as a prank or practical joke, he had put cannabis resin on a pizza which Pte White had consumed.

Yesterday, Mr Justice Michael Peart was told that when he returned to his career, he later applied for an extension of service, but was refused.

Mr Justice Peart granted Pte White's lawyers permission to challenge the decision in judicial review proceedings against the Minister for Defence. The order will act as a stay on his discharge.

hnews@herald.ie

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