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Drunk driving, Glasgow Sheriff Court, June 2016

Our client was charged with drunk driving at Glasgow. The Crown’s evidence was threefold. First the Crown had CCTV evidence which appeared to show that our client was drunk and had been driving erratically. This was backed up by both police and civilian witnesses. Finally our client was taken to the nearest police station. He provided a sample which seemed to indicate that he was more than 3 times over the drink-drive limit. He was subsequently prosecuted under section 5(1)(a) of the Road Traffic Act 1988.

At first blush a case like this seems hopeless. Drunk driving is always difficult to defend and, in this case, the Crown also had powerful eye-witness evidence and CCTV. However, when analysing the results from the Intoximeter machine, we noticed that the police had failed to calibrate the machine properly. As a consequence the Crown could not rely upon the breath readings taken from our client. In these circumstances, the police should have required our client to provide a blood or urine sample. However the police had failed to notice that the machine was not properly calibrated and proceeded as normal.

At court the Crown sought to rely upon the eye-witness accounts and CCTV as evidence that our client was drunk. However recent case law had held that in cases where the prosecution relates to the amount of alcohol in someone’s breath, such evidence is irrelevant. We therefore objected to the evidence being led. The Sheriff agreed with us and the CCTV was ruled inadmissible. In those circumstances, the Crown deserted the case against our client.

Dink driving is a very serious offence. We do not condone it. However everyone is innocent until proven guilty. In this case, failures early in the case meant the case against our client could not be proved.