Now that I am retired having been many years a magistrate with a long awareness of the declining freedoms enjoyed by the ordinary citizen and a corresponding fear of the big brother state`s ever increasing encroachment on civil liberties I hope that my personal observations within these general parameters will be of interest to those with an open mind. Having been blogging with this title for many years against the rules of the Ministry of Justice my new found freedom should allow me to be less inhibited in these observations.

Comments are usually moderated. However, I do not accept any legal responsibility for the content of any comment. If any comment seems submitted just to advertise a website it will not be published.

Thursday, 21 April 2016


When considering drink driving cases and a defence lawyer began questioning the accuracy of the intoximeter I was usually reminded by the legal advisor that the bench was obliged to assume that the instrument was correctly serviced and calibrated according to instructions.  I have found nothing on line which dictates the legal requirements of an actual machine`s accuracy and required  frequency of calibration apart from this guide.  This week another famous sportsman is in court on a motoring offence. Danny Cipriani`s lawyer is questioning inter alia the accuracy of the machine used to test his client`s breath alcohol. 'We can't tell by the reference to some of the readings that the machine was reliable.' Prosecutor Katie Weiss contested the application, insisting the court had enough evidence the machine was working properly to continue the case". 

Howard Ribble, chief magistrate; a man not to be trifled with, will give his decision tomorrow.  I am quite surprised at that need for consideration while he makes his own investigation into the defence allegations.  If a bench cannot assume an intoximeter`s accuracy for the purpose of prosecution there will be many offenders considering whether they should spend hard earned cash to consult expert legal opinion.  The CPS will have its own headache  with which to contend.  

ADDENDUM 26th April 2016

The defence application that there was no case to answer has been thrown out..........and quite right too!

1 comment:

  1. I spent virtually the whole of my career working in the defence electronics industry and everything that is tested there has to done with equipment that is properly calibrated according to laid down standards. Equipment used in the calibration process has to have its accuracy verified back to national standards. Nothing could be tested unless all the test equipment used was properly calibrated, failure to do so was cause for rejection of the equipment being tested.

    If (heaven forbid) I was ever done for drink driving I would, as a matter of principle, insist on seeing the calibration certificate for the device. The assumption that "if it was being used it must be all right" just wouldn't wash in any professional field.