Sneyd 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 from the Intoximeter having been produced, there was no evidence on which he could be convicted. The officer gave evidence not of his reading of the Intoximeter but of the print out.
Held: The appeal was dismissed. Drinking itself is not a criminal offence. At the point when the officer asked him whether he had been drinking paragraphs 10 and 11 of the PACE code were not engaged. The fact that he had been drinking allowed the officer then to require the breath test. As to the complaint about the admission of the officer’s evidence in the absence of the printout: ‘oral evidence was given by the officer who carried out the procedure, evidence which was supported by the other officer who was present throughout. There was no challenge to that evidence in cross-examination. No objection was taken to its admissibility at the time and no challenge, indeed, to its correctness.’
Richards LJ said of the arguments advanced for the appellant: ‘In conclusion, I am satisfied that the there is no merit in the arguments advanced by Miss Calder in relation to the justices’ findings concerning the breath test procedure. Fortunately the justices were not misled by such arguments but dealt with the case sensibly and robustly, making findings properly open to them on the unchallenged evidence they had heard.’


Richards LJ, David Clarke J


[2006] EWHC 560 (Admin)




Road Traffic Act 1988 5(1)(a), Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 78


England and Wales


See AlsoSneyd, 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. . .
CitedOwen 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 . .
CitedThom 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 . .
CitedDenneny v Harding 1986
Although a police officer was able to give evidence about what he saw on the Intoximeter display panel, the evidence of the officer in the case went no further than the evidence of the readings of alcohol in the appellant’s breath. In order to prove . .
CitedMayon v Director of Public Prosecutions 1988
In the absence of evidence of calibration of an Intoximeter either before or after the second specimen was produced, there had been a failure to prove the precondition that the machine was working satisfactorily. . .
CitedGreenway v Director of Public Prosecutions 1993
The defendant appealed against his conviction for driving with excess alcohol. The officer had given evidence that at the time of the test all of the readings showed that the machine was working properly. That evidence was not challenged by the . .

Cited by:

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: 05 July 2022; Ref: scu.240062