Where a requirement to give a specimen of blood had been properly made at a police station the specimen could be taken elsewhere by a medical practitioner.Appeal by the defendant ('D') from the decision of the Court of Appeal of Northern Ireland dismissing his appeal against a conviction for drink driving. D was arrested in 1998 on suspicion of having committed the offence of driving a motor car whilst unfit to drive through drink contrary to Art.15(1) Road Traffic (Northern Ireland) Order 1995 SI 1995/2994. D was taken to Strabane police station. He was not required to provide a specimen of breath because no trained officer was available at the time to operate the evidential breath testing device. Instead D was required to provide a specimen of blood under Art.18(1)(b) which he agreed to do. D was taken to the local health centre where the blood sample was taken 15 minutes after the request was first made. The request was repeated at the health centre. The sample was over the prescribed limit and the magistrate convicted, holding that the health centre was a "hospital" and that the specimen had been properly taken in accordance with Art.18(4) which provided that the request to give a blood sample could only be made at a police station or hospital. The Court of Appeal held that the health centre was not a hospital but that once the requirement to give a sample had been properly made under Art.18(4) at the police station the specimen could be taken elsewhere. D appealed.HELD: (1) The Court of Appeal was right to hold that the health centre was not a hospital for the purposes of the 1995 order. (2) The Court of Appeal was right to hold that after a requirement for a specimen of blood had been made in the police station, the specimen might be taken elsewhere by a medical practitioner (Pascoe v Nicholson (1981) 1 WLR 1061 considered). That conclusion was consistent with s.57(3) Police Reform Act 2002 which amended the virtually identical English provisions. (3) The requirement made at the police station was not superseded by the requirement made 15 minutes later at the health centre so as to render the procedure non-compliant. The repetition of the requirement within that short period of time did not deprive the first requirement of its operative effect. (4) If there had been a breach of Art.18(4) the evidence of the specimen would have been inadmissible (applying Howard v Hallett (1984) RTR 353 and Fox v Chief Constable of Gwent (1985) 1 WLR 1126).Appeal dismissed.

[2003] UKHL 24

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