Canada – Court Hears: Engineer who drowned on the job may have been THC impaired, defence argues

Blood samples taken from an engineer suggest he could have been impaired by cannabis when he drowned in a Nova Scotia Power reservoir in 2020, according to new arguments by lawyers for the companies charged in relation to his death.

Andrew Gnazdowsky, 26, drowned on Oct. 16, 2020, while swimming to retrieve a piece of floating surveying equipment that had malfunctioned in the Marshall Falls reservoir in Sheet Harbour, N.S.

Nova Scotia Power, Brunswick Engineering and Consulting Inc. of Saint John, the company Gnazdowsky worked for, and Gemtec Consulting Engineering and Scientists Ltd. of Fredericton are facing charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

In Halifax provincial court Friday, defence lawyers argued the companies should be acquitted because of the significant levels of THC, the main psychoactive compound in cannabis, found in Gnazdowsky’s blood after his death.

trial for the case wrapped up last fall, but Judge Elizabeth Buckle has not yet given her decision. Since the trial, a decision in another case has examined the role of THC in a different workplace death.

Defence lawyers on Friday pointed to the case of Brandon Alcorn, who fell from the Kent Building Supplies store that was under construction in Dartmouth, N.S., in March 2018. Jeff Gooch, the supervisor and foreman for Insulated Panel Structures, was charged with criminal negligence.

In January, Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Timothy Gabriel cleared Gooch of the charge because he said Alcorn was likely intoxicated when he fell more than five metres to the ground.

Both delta-carboxy THC and delta-9 THC were found in the samples of Alcorn’s blood taken before his death, a toxicologist testified at the trial.

More at 

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/nova-scotia-power-reservoir-enginner-drowned-andrew-gnazdowsky-1.7152449

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