Man's second drink-driving appeal attempt refused

By Patrice Dougan

File photo / APN
File photo / APN

A man who sought leave to take a second appeal against a drink driving conviction has had his application refused by the Supreme Court.

Stephen Ross Tebbs has already lost one appeal against his conviction for the October 2010 offence, in which he argued the blood sample taken by police did not follow strict medical procedures.

In a decision released today, the Supreme Court rejected his application to challenge the decision.

Tebbs failed a breath test after being pulled over by police almost four years ago. A blood specimen was also taken, which was placed in two standard-issue glass bottles with plastic screw-caps and tamper-free seals.

Environmental Science and Research (ESR) reported a final analysis of 86mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, just above the 80mg limit. Tebbs had the sample tested by a private analyst, with a reported a final reading of 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood.

His argument that this showed the police's sample kit may not be reliable was rejected by both the High Court and the Court of Appeal.

Tebbs applied to the Supreme Court to appeal against the decision once more, on the grounds that the process of taking a blood sample extends to the method of preserving it.

The medical practice of taking blood involved storing it in a vacuum-sealed container, instead of a screw-cap one, he said.

However, the Supreme Court said this argument "runs counter to the ordinary meaning of the .... definition of a blood test".

"It is not apparent that the context points strongly to a meaning that would cover the subsequent storage," its ruling said.

"Furthermore, legislative definitions and procedures have been amended since the time of the offending, decreasing the generality of the importance of the issue. The law that would be considered on appeal now has only lingering transitional application. The point accordingly lacks public importance.

"Overall we are satisfied a further appeal is not necessary in the interests of justice."

- APNZ

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