Owen v Chesters: 1985

The court considered the means of proving the reading from a breath test meter: ‘It was clearly the intention of the legislature, in enacting subsection (5), that the defendant should be provided in advance of the hearing with the information recorded on the automatically produced statement. This information includes not only the results of the measurement effected by the instrument of the two specimens of breath — results of which the defendant might otherwise have only an imperfect recollection — but also, and of even greater importance, the results of the self-calibrating exercise which the instrument carries out both before and after the two specimens of breath are provided. If the measurement produced by the instrument is to be relied on by the prosecution, it is clearly vital for the prosecution to establish that the instrument was properly calibrated.
The case stated is silent as to whether, as a matter of fact, copies of the Intoximeter statement or print-out and supporting certificate were handed to or served upon the defendant as required by subsection (5). The prosecution, as we have said, simply elected not to rely upon the statement. By so doing, in our judgment, the prosecution failed to establish matters vital to the establishment of the defendant’s guilt. We would not regard the evidence of the police sergeant as inadmissible under the hearsay rule: it was direct evidence of what he had seen recorded on the instrument. The ground upon which we would uphold the decision of the justices is that the oral evidence of the police sergeant did not, and could not, come up to the standard of proof required by the legislation.’


Watkins LJ


[1985] RTR 191

Cited by:

CitedSneyd, Regina (on the Application Of) v Director of Public Prosecutions Admn 22-Jul-2005
The defendant wished to argue a point to overturn the decision in Chesters. Accordingly the matter was adjourned for hearing by a two judge court. . .
ExplainedThom v Director of Public Prosecutions 1993
The defendant was prosecuted for driving with excess alcohol. No print-out was produced but there was oral evidence from the officers who carried out the procedure that the machine was calibrated properly and working properly and what the readings . .
CitedSneyd v Director of Public Prosecutions Admn 24-Feb-2006
The defendant appealed against his conviction for driving with excess alcohol. He complained that though the officers suspected him of having consumed alcohol, they asked him whether he had been drinking without cautioning him, and that no print out . .
CitedBielecki v The Director of Public Prosecutions Admn 23-Aug-2011
The court had delivered a draft judgment which counsel said was based upon a fundamental misunderstanding of the case she had presented. Counsel now suggested that the matter should be referred to a two judge divisional court. That was refused. The . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Road Traffic

Updated: 30 April 2022; Ref: scu.230382