QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
THE ADMINISTRATIVE COURT
B e f o r e :
|THE QUEEN ON THE APPLICATION OF WOOLDRIDGE||(APPELLANT)|
|THE DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC PROSECUTIONS||(RESPONDENT)|
Smith Bernal Wordwave Limited
190 Fleet Street London EC4A 2AG
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(Official Shorthand Writers to the Court)
MR TATLOW (instructed by CROWN PROSECUTION SERVICE) appeared on behalf of the DEFENDANT
Crown Copyright ©
Part one: Introduction
"4. It was contended by the defence solicitor that no statements had been received at his office but he agreed during the hearing that the statements should be tendered in evidence. No issue was taken by the defence during the trial in respect of Dr Apta's certificate until after it was admitted and we are now asked to state a case as to its admissibility.
"5. We were of opinion that:
(a) The doctor's certificate signed by Doctor Robin Apta dated the 18 August 2001 stating that the specimen of blood was taken from the appellant with her consent was admissible in evidence under section 16(2) of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988. There was no objection that section 16(3) of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 had not been complied with prior to the certificate being admitted. A notice under section 16(4) of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 had not been served by the defence on the prosecution. Because there was no objection by the defence that section 16(3) of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 had not been complied with, the defendant had waived the requirement of strict proof of service and the document was therefore correctly admitted.
(b) Police Constable Trow's failure to sign his statement was a matter of form not substance in that he had signed the declaration at the top of his statement, which showed that he had read his statement and approved it as true and had simply omitted to sign again at the end of the statement. Objection was taken to the statement of Police Constable Trow being admitted in evidence, but we found it was properly admitted.
(c) If we had determined that the statement of Police Constable Trow dated 19 August 2001 was inadmissible under section 9 Criminal Justice Act 1967 because his signature at the end of the statement had been omitted, his evidence that he handed a sample of blood to Woman Police Constable Richardson was in any event covered by the statement of Woman Police Constable Richardson dated 20 August 2001, correctly signed, that she received a blood sample from Police Constable Trow. There was also evidence from Police Constable Whiteley of handing the sample to Police Constable Trow.
The phraseology of paragraph 4 and 5(a) of the stated case is somewhat convoluted. It has, however, become clear that the point which the magistrates were making is this. The appellant's solicitor first raised his objection to the admissibility of Dr Apta's certificate a couple of minutes after Mr Young had read out the contents of that certificate.
"(i)Were we correct to admit the certificate of Dr Robin Apta in evidence under section 16(2) of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988, given that no prior objection was taken to it by the defence under section 16(3) or section 16(4) of that Act?
"(ii)Were we correct to admit the statement of Police constable Trow in evidence under section 9 of the Criminal Justice Act 1967, even though it had not been signed at the end?
"(iii)Were we correct to convict, given the High Court's answers to the above questions?"
Part two: Was the medical certificate admissible?
"(2)Subject to subsections (3) and (4) below, evidence that a specimen of blood was taken from the accused with his consent by a medical practitioner may be given by the production of a document purporting to certify that fact and to be signed by a medical practitioner.
"(3)Subject to subsection (4) below —
(a)a document purporting to be such a statement or such a certificate (or both such a statement and such a certificate) as is mentioned in subsection (1)(a) above is admissible in evidence on behalf of the prosecution in pursuance of this section only if a copy of it either has been handed to the accused when the document was produced or has been served on him not later than seven days before the hearing, and
(b)any other document is so admissible only if a copy of it has been served on the accused not later than seven days before the hearing.
"(4)A document purporting to be a certificate (or so much of a document as purports to be a certificate) is not so admissible if the accused, not later than three days before the hearing or within such further time as the court may in special circumstances allow, has served notice on the prosecutor requiring the attendance at the hearing of the person by whom the document purports to be signed."
If the medical certificate referred to in section 16(2) of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 is not served on the accused at least seven days before the hearing, that is a bar to its reception in evidence. The absence of service is a defect which cannot be waived by the defendant or his advisers: see Tobi v Nicholas  RTR 344, at 353 to 354 per Glidewell LJ, and 358 per McNeill J; McCormack v Director of Public Prosecutions  EWHC 173 (Admin), at paragraphs 37 to 38 per Maurice Kay J. On the other hand, it is possible for the defendant to waive the requirement that service be formally proved: see Lewis v DPP  RTR 354.
"... given that no prior objection was taken to it by the defence under section 16(3) or section 16(4) of that Act."
This is a somewhat odd comment. No prior objection could be taken to the certificate, since neither the appellant nor her solicitor was in possession of it until the trial at the Magistrates' Court was in progress. Also, the reference to section 16(4) of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 reads somewhat oddly. Section 16(4) refers to the service of a counter notice, which is generally required three days before the hearing. At that stage, namely three days before the hearing, neither the appellant nor her solicitor was in possession of the certificate.
Part three: Questions (ii) and (iii) of the stated case
Part four: Conclusion