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Russell v Devine [2003] UKHL 24

Criminal Evidence - Road Traffic - Drink driving - Defendant required to provide specimen of blood at police station - Blood taken at local health centre - Health centre not ‘hospital’ - Once requirement to provide specimen made at police station blood could be taken elsewhere - Road Traffic (Northern Ireland) Order 1995 Art 18(4) - Police Reform Act 2002, s 57(3)

23 May 2003

D was arrested in 1998 on suspicion of having committed the offence of driving a motor car whilst unfit to drive through drink contrary to Art 15(1) of the Road Traffic (Northern Ireland) Order 1995. D was taken to Strabane police station. He was not required to provide a specimen of breath because no trained officer was available at the time to operate the evidential breath testing device. Instead D was required to provide a specimen of blood under Art 18(1)(b) of the 1995 order, which he agreed to do. D was taken to the local health centre where the blood sample was taken 15 minutes after the request was first made. The request was repeated at the health centre. The sample was over the prescribed limit and the magistrate convicted, holding that the health centre was a ‘hospital’ and that the specimen had been properly taken in accordance with Art 18(4) which provided that the request to give a blood sample could only be made at a police station or hospital. D appealed. The Court ...

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