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Zafar v DPP [2004] EWHC 2468 (QB)

Criminal evidence - Road traffic - Alcohol - Breath samples - Breath tests - Drink driving offences - Meaning of ‘breath’ - Road Traffic Act 1988, s 5(1)(a)

12 November 2004

The appellant (Z) appealed by way of case stated against a decision of the Crown Court dismissing his appeal against conviction for driving a motor vehicle having consumed excess alcohol. Z provided specimens of breath at the police station and was found to be over the legal limit for alcohol. The Crown Court accepted that Z suffered from heartburn and may have had reflux of his stomach contents to his mouth at the material time. It also accepted evidence that Intoximeters could not always be relied on to recognise ‘mouth alcohol’. It held that the word ‘breath’ in the Road Traffic Act 1988, s 5(1)(a) did not distinguish between the terms ‘deep lung air’ and ‘mouth alcohol’ as both were components of the word ‘breath’ and no distinction between them was required. ISSUE The meaning of the word ‘breath’ in the Road Traffic Act 1988, s 5(1)(a). HELD (appeal dismissed) The dictionary definition of ‘breath’ was ‘air exhaled from any thing’. That wa...

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