My client was charged with three offences: driving with excess alcohol, failing to stop after an accident and failing to report an accident. My client’s car crashed into another vehicle. An eye witness apparently saw my client get out from the driver’s seat and run off. The witness called the police. My client was then arrested by the police about 15 minutes later in the location. He was breath tested and was over the limit.
My client had some cuts and bruising to his face, consistent with an air bag explosion. The police spoke to the eye witness who gave a description of my client. The police seized the car in order to test the airbag for DNA. The logic, of course, is that if the DNA matched my client then it would prove he was the driver at the time of the crash.
The police had a strong case. They had a positive breath test. They had an eye witness. They had forensic evidence. The police and CPS believed it was an open and shut case.
I represented this client from start to finish. You can’t imagine the surprise expressed by the CPS at the first court hearing when my client pleaded ‘not guilty’ to all charges. The CPS solicitor looked at me like I was as mad as my client!
However, one thing I have learnt over the years is that it is vital to properly test the evidence. Just because the police or the CPS believe they have the evidence, it does not mean they have. Unless you accept the evidence and plead guilty, the CPS must prove the case based on accurate and reliable evidence to a standard beyond reasonable doubt.
When the police and CPS believe they have the right person, especially in circumstances such as in this case, I often find that the police and CPS fail to do what they should do. My defence comprised three main elements:
a. Accuracy of the breath test
b. Identification of the driver
c. Reliability of the forensic evidence.
To read the full article, please follow the link: A positive breath test, forensic evidence and a positive ID.