Arriving at court this morning for trial in a 'fail to provide' a specimen of blood' case, that at first blush might have appeared to being run on a weak defence, I wasn't too taken aback by both the prosecutors dismissive tone or the legal advisers comments to the effect of "are you really running this as a trial".
However the papers didn't make sense. The timings when things were supposed to have happened didn't tie up between the proforma that officers complete when they are conducting the station drink drive procedures and the information recorded on the custody record.
Being thick skinned, I was not put off by the disparaging remarks of the prosecutor or the legal adviser and trial commenced.
I was expecting a fight. Officer A, the officer conducting the breath test procedure that my client had been unable to complete gave his evidence as to the events leading up to the arrest, the road side procedure up to the point where my client had been advised by him that her failure to provide the second sample of breath had amounted to an offence and that she would be charged with the offence. In fact, had the police station story ended there, that would have probably been it. However, it seems that a second officer present throughout the test speaks to the custody officer and the decision is made to move to 'either blood or urine'.
This is where things get complicated as PC A's statement makes no mention of making a formal requirement to provide blood, he simply states that the client said that she wanted to speak to a solicitor before giving anything.
When the police move to blood or urine a second form is completed. This suggested that a formal requirement had in fact been made for blood. The time shown for this requirement didn't tie with the custody record which suggested that at the time of the requirement, my client was being returned to their cell.
This is where things get interesting. PC A's evidence is that no, he didn't make a formal request for blood. As to the form that was supposed to be completed as a record of the answers provided by my client, to the effect that they were required to provide a specimen of blood and the consequences of not doing so. his evidence was that this was completed by PC B. That this form had not been completed in the presence of the defendant and that it probably had not even been on the same day and finally that the signature was not his. In effect the officers evidence was that his colleague had falsified the document and that the requirement to provide a specimen of blood had never been made.
The Magistrates were stunned and not surprisingly, the prosecution offered no further evidence asking that the bench enter an acquittal.
When the bench had retired, I took the opportunity to remind the prosecutor and the legal adviser of their earlier disparaging comments regarding the merits of the defence case.