Source: All England Reporter
Publisher Citation: [2002] All ER (D) 77 (Nov)
Neutral Citation: [2002] EWHC 2297 (Admin)
Court: Divisional Court

Kennedy LJ and Pitchers J

Representation Anthony Jennings QC (instructed by Freeman & Co, Manchester) for the appellant.
  Steven Everett (instructed by the Crown Prosecution Service) for the prosecution.
Judgment Dates: 6 November 2002


Road traffic - Drink-driving - Breath test - Failure to provide specimen - Reasonable excuse - Right to seek legal advice before providing specimen - s 58 - European Convention on Human Rights, art 6(3).

The Case

Article6 of the European Convention on Human Rights could be said to be in play from the outset of a police investigation, but that right did not spell out a right to legal advice at any particular stage. For that it was necessary to go to domestic legislation. of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 fully satisfied art6 as it entitled a person arrested and held in custody at a police station to consult a solicitor if he asked to do so, and where a request was made he had to be permitted to consult as soon as practicable. It would be a question of fact in any given case whether the custody officer had acted without delay to secure the provision of legal advice, and whether the person held in custody had been permitted to consult a solicitor as soon as was practicable. Where the matter under investigation was a suspected offence contrary to s5 of the public interest required that the obtaining of breath specimens part of the investigation could not be delayed to any significant extent in order to enable a suspect to take legal advice.

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