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New Zealand Police v Gibson [2021] NZDC 17020

Published 30 June 2022

Judge-alone trial — driving with excess blood alcohol — blood test — admissibility of evidence — statutory interpretation — Land Transport Act 1998, ss 56(2), 64(2) & 69(4A)(b) — Evidence Act 2006, s 9 — New Zealand Police Breath and Alcohol Procedure Sheet — Barr v Ministry of Transport [1983] NZLR 720 — Solicitor-General’s Reference (No 1 of 2020) [2020] NZCA 563 — McKinney v Police [2021] NZSC 68 — Aylwin v Police [2008] NZSC 113 — Boyd v Auckland City Council [1980] 1 NZLR 337 — Singh v Police [2021] NZSC 78 — Solicitor-General’s Reference (No 1 of 2020) [2020] NZCA 563. The defendant faced a charge of driving with excess blood alcohol. He had had an accident while driving, and during a police investigation had elected to undergo a blood test. He based this decision on the advice in a procedure form that the police had provided him. The blood test showed that the defendant had been over the alcohol limit and he was subsequently charged. The defendant argued that the charge should be dismissed, because the wording of the police form went against the language used in the relevant section of the Land Transport Act (the Act) and the result of the blood test was therefore inadmissible evidence. The Court found that it was unnecessary for the wording of the form to precisely adhere to the language used in the Act, as long as it conveyed the same "sense and effect". The defendant's argument was that the wording of the form was misleading because it did not state what type of proceedings would be taken against him if his blood test had shown the presence of alcohol. However the Court found that this approach took an improperly narrow view of the wording in a specific part of the form, and that the form as a whole was not misleading and provided people in the position of the defendant with all the information they needed. The evidence was admissible, and the Court found the charge proven. Judgment Date: 10 September 2021. * * * Note: names have been changed to comply with legal requirements. * * *