A judge has rejected a Northland nurse's claim that a blood sample taken from her foot was unlawful and breached her Bill of Rights.

At a defended hearing in the Whangarei District Court before Judge Duncan Harvey, Karen O'Keeffe, a nurse, had challenged a drink-driving charge laid after a blood sample was taken from her foot at the Whangarei Police Station on November 28, 2014.

O'Keeffe returned a reading of 104 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood - twice the legal blood limit of 50 milligrams for drivers aged 20 and over.

The sample was taken after O'Keeffe had been stopped driving a Mercedes along Mangakahia Rd about 10pm.


Judge Harvey had reserved his finding after the hearing.

Yesterday, he gave his verdict and said O'Keeffe was guilty of the charge.

In summing up the case, Judge Harvey said a nurse had difficulty obtaining blood from O'Keeffe's arm and wrist and opted to take it from her foot.

O'Keeffe had argued the nurse bypassed her wrist and the back of her arm, which was unlawful and in breach of her Bill of Rights.

The normal procedure was for a medical practitioner to be present if a blood sample was to be taken from any area other than her wrist and arm, she said.

O'Keeffe had said that as it was not an emergency situation, police should have waited for a medical practitioner.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Chris Goodall had said the foot blood sample was unusual, but not unheard of and not outside the nurse's scope of work.

He said the nurse decided to take blood from her foot only after her arms and wrists were deemed unsuitable.

Mr Goodall said O'Keeffe did not object to the foot sample at the time.

O'Keeffe suffered no ill-effects apart from bruising from the procedure, he submitted.

Judge Harvey ruled although the way the experienced nurse approached her task was not best practice, it did not mean medical procedures were not complied with.

O'Keeffe indicated she would make an application for a discharge without conviction.
Judge Harvey said it was her right to make such an application although it would be "extraordinarily unusual" to be granted in a charge of drink driving.

O'Keeffe was remanded on bail to re-appear for sentencing on June 21.