Motorist refused to give blood sample because of fear of needles sparked by coma

A MOTORIST caught swerving on a road refused to give a blood sample to police because she developed a phobia of needles after suffering flashbacks from a coma, a court heard.

Lyn Rees, 57, of Fron Wen, Blackwood, said she had swerved onto white lines in Risca at 1am because she was moving house with large items in her car.

Rees was repeatedly asked to provide a sample of breath but was unable to do so because of a lung condition known as emphysema, Caerphilly Magistrates’ Court was told.

She was taken to Ystrad Mynach police station where she declined to have a blood sample taken from her, prosecutor David Cooke said.

Mr Cooke said she had been asked to blow into a breathalyser 10 to 15 times.

Her solicitor, Nathan Fear, said her phobia of needles had stemmed from her five-month coma which started in summer 2007.

Mr Fear said she had suffered flashbacks of the time of her coma and had “significant problems” with her health through the years.

Police stopped Rees in a Ford Fiesta at around 1am on December 15 last year.

Mr Fear told the court she had to move house overnight and accordingly had to go back and forth between the two addresses and was tired as a result.

Rees told the court: "I was not drink driving your honour."

The matter was initially listed for trial but Rees pleaded guilty to failing to provide a specimen of blood.

Magistrate Pauline Andrews banned her from driving for 16 months.

The defendant agreed to take a driving rehabilitation order which could reduce her driving disqualification by 17 weeks.

JP Andrews also ordered her to pay a £150 fine, £135 prosecution costs and a £20 victim surcharge.

Comments (8)

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4:58pm Sat 26 Apr 14

Limestonecowboy says...

Driving over tired is just as dangerous as d-driving what happens if she fell asleep & killed someone? ' flashbacks of a coma '... likely to end up back there driving in this condition.
Driving over tired is just as dangerous as d-driving what happens if she fell asleep & killed someone? ' flashbacks of a coma '... likely to end up back there driving in this condition. Limestonecowboy
  • Score: 28

7:09pm Sat 26 Apr 14

ex-St. Julians boy says...

They'd have to do me for failing to provide a specimen of blood. They'd probably be doing me for assault at the same time because anyone comes near me with a hypodermic gets warned off once and if they keep coming they get thumped.
They'd have to do me for failing to provide a specimen of blood. They'd probably be doing me for assault at the same time because anyone comes near me with a hypodermic gets warned off once and if they keep coming they get thumped. ex-St. Julians boy
  • Score: -26

10:17pm Sat 26 Apr 14

Casnewydd lad says...

What a load of rubbish fair point about the needle phobia but the breathalysers have been tested so even people with copd can use them unless except from it with a doctors certificate someone who cannot blow into one of these would be seeing their g.p every week and even on oxygen therapy I note the absences of a medical certificate backing up this lady's claim, I,m glad justice prevailed
What a load of rubbish fair point about the needle phobia but the breathalysers have been tested so even people with copd can use them unless except from it with a doctors certificate someone who cannot blow into one of these would be seeing their g.p every week and even on oxygen therapy I note the absences of a medical certificate backing up this lady's claim, I,m glad justice prevailed Casnewydd lad
  • Score: 16

9:24am Sun 27 Apr 14

varteg1 says...

If her health problems are as described in the article, maybe she should not be driving anyway.

I once had a lift with a guy suffering from emphysema, he had a coughing fit on the way, and drove up the kerb and swerved into a lamp post.

My door was jammed shut and I had to get out of the car on the drivers side.

So I have to say I have little sympathy for someone with her driving skills.
If her health problems are as described in the article, maybe she should not be driving anyway. I once had a lift with a guy suffering from emphysema, he had a coughing fit on the way, and drove up the kerb and swerved into a lamp post. My door was jammed shut and I had to get out of the car on the drivers side. So I have to say I have little sympathy for someone with her driving skills. varteg1
  • Score: 11

1:05pm Sun 27 Apr 14

Jedi Master Katarn says...

Casnewydd lad wrote:
What a load of rubbish fair point about the needle phobia but the breathalysers have been tested so even people with copd can use them unless except from it with a doctors certificate someone who cannot blow into one of these would be seeing their g.p every week and even on oxygen therapy I note the absences of a medical certificate backing up this lady's claim, I,m glad justice prevailed
Breathalyzers are fairly inaccurate to begin with. They never actually measure your BAC (blood alcohol concentration/conten
t) but rather measure alcohol metabolites in your breath. Alcohol isn't the only substance that produces these metabolites and the ratio of alcohol in one's blood to alcohol in one's breath can vary.

When an individual fails to provide or provides a high reading upon a test, then a police officer in uniform (plain clothes officers are not permitted to conduct this test) will then take the accused into custody where they will preform further and accurate testing.

Blood and urine tests are widely considered to be more accurate than breath tests in assessing blood alcohol levels.

The police may also request a blood or urine test if the suspect is unable to provide a breath specimen because of some medical condition (e.g., severe asthma or emphysema).

The prescribed limit for alcohol in the blood is 80 mg per 100 millilitres (ml) of blood. For urine, it is 107 mg per 100 ml of urine.

If a suspect fails to provide a test sample when legally required to do so, he or she may face criminal prosecution. Three offences exist:

Failure to co-operate with a preliminary test: a person commits this offence by failing to submit to a roadside breathalyser test or sobriety/impairment test. The maximum penalty for this offence includes four penalty points (to remain on your licence for four years) or a 12-36 month driving disqualification and a £1,000 fine.

Failing to provide an evidential specimen for analysis: a person commits this offence by failing to provide breath, blood or urine samples at the police station. The maximum penalty for this offence varies depending on whether the offender failed to provide a specimen after either 'driving/attempting to drive' or being 'in charge' of a vehicle.

The penalty for failing to provide a specimen for analysis after driving/attempting to drive is 3-11 penalty points (to remain on your licence for 11 years) or a 12-36 month driving disqualification, a £5,000 fine, and six months imprisonment.

The penalty for failing to provide a specimen for analysis after being arrested in charge of a vehicle is less severe: 10 penalty points (to remain on your licence for four years) or a 12-36 month disqualification, a £2,500 fine, and three months imprisonment.

Failing to give permission for laboratory test: if a specimen is taken, it cannot be subjected to a laboratory test unless the person from whom it was taken expressly agrees. The maximum penalty for this offence is identical to those for 'failing to provide an evidential specimen for analysis' (discussed above).
"Reasonable Excuse"

A suspect may fail to provide a test sample if he or she has a "reasonable excuse". This usually requires production of med ical evidence about some kind of physical or mental infirmity.

In one case, a court found the accused's shortness of breath during a panic attack to be a reasonable excuse for failing to provide a breath specimen. In another, however, the court said aversion to the sight of blood did not excuse the accused from giving blood (since he could either shut his eyes or look away as blood was drawn).

The courts have also affirmed that waiting for legal advice does not constitute a reasonable excuse for failing to take a test unless a solicitor is immediately available, either in person or by telephone, "for a couple of minutes" and any delay in the test would be "very short".


So in summary, she had a legally valid reason to refuse both the BAC Test (Breath Test) and a Blood Sample.

She did not have any legal reason to refuse a Urine Sample.

This is likely the reason she pleaded Guilty and the fact she refused to provide this sample with no reason suggests wrong doing.
[quote][p][bold]Casnewydd lad[/bold] wrote: What a load of rubbish fair point about the needle phobia but the breathalysers have been tested so even people with copd can use them unless except from it with a doctors certificate someone who cannot blow into one of these would be seeing their g.p every week and even on oxygen therapy I note the absences of a medical certificate backing up this lady's claim, I,m glad justice prevailed[/p][/quote]Breathalyzers are fairly inaccurate to begin with. They never actually measure your BAC (blood alcohol concentration/conten t) but rather measure alcohol metabolites in your breath. Alcohol isn't the only substance that produces these metabolites and the ratio of alcohol in one's blood to alcohol in one's breath can vary. When an individual fails to provide or provides a high reading upon a test, then a police officer in uniform (plain clothes officers are not permitted to conduct this test) will then take the accused into custody where they will preform further and accurate testing. Blood and urine tests are widely considered to be more accurate than breath tests in assessing blood alcohol levels. The police may also request a blood or urine test if the suspect is unable to provide a breath specimen because of some medical condition (e.g., severe asthma or emphysema). The prescribed limit for alcohol in the blood is 80 mg per 100 millilitres (ml) of blood. For urine, it is 107 mg per 100 ml of urine. If a suspect fails to provide a test sample when legally required to do so, he or she may face criminal prosecution. Three offences exist: Failure to co-operate with a preliminary test: a person commits this offence by failing to submit to a roadside breathalyser test or sobriety/impairment test. The maximum penalty for this offence includes four penalty points (to remain on your licence for four years) or a 12-36 month driving disqualification and a £1,000 fine. Failing to provide an evidential specimen for analysis: a person commits this offence by failing to provide breath, blood or urine samples at the police station. The maximum penalty for this offence varies depending on whether the offender failed to provide a specimen after either 'driving/attempting to drive' or being 'in charge' of a vehicle. The penalty for failing to provide a specimen for analysis after driving/attempting to drive is 3-11 penalty points (to remain on your licence for 11 years) or a 12-36 month driving disqualification, a £5,000 fine, and six months imprisonment. The penalty for failing to provide a specimen for analysis after being arrested in charge of a vehicle is less severe: 10 penalty points (to remain on your licence for four years) or a 12-36 month disqualification, a £2,500 fine, and three months imprisonment. Failing to give permission for laboratory test: if a specimen is taken, it cannot be subjected to a laboratory test unless the person from whom it was taken expressly agrees. The maximum penalty for this offence is identical to those for 'failing to provide an evidential specimen for analysis' (discussed above). "Reasonable Excuse" A suspect may fail to provide a test sample if he or she has a "reasonable excuse". This usually requires production of med ical evidence about some kind of physical or mental infirmity. In one case, a court found the accused's shortness of breath during a panic attack to be a reasonable excuse for failing to provide a breath specimen. In another, however, the court said aversion to the sight of blood did not excuse the accused from giving blood (since he could either shut his eyes or look away as blood was drawn). The courts have also affirmed that waiting for legal advice does not constitute a reasonable excuse for failing to take a test unless a solicitor is immediately available, either in person or by telephone, "for a couple of minutes" and any delay in the test would be "very short". So in summary, she had a legally valid reason to refuse both the BAC Test (Breath Test) and a Blood Sample. She did not have any legal reason to refuse a Urine Sample. This is likely the reason she pleaded Guilty and the fact she refused to provide this sample with no reason suggests wrong doing. Jedi Master Katarn
  • Score: 5

1:07pm Sun 27 Apr 14

Jedi Master Katarn says...

What is wrong is the fact that SWA has reported this storey without explaining what she was actually accused of and what she was sentenced for.

The article gives a false impression.

Shameful reporting.
What is wrong is the fact that SWA has reported this storey without explaining what she was actually accused of and what she was sentenced for. The article gives a false impression. Shameful reporting. Jedi Master Katarn
  • Score: -2

1:23pm Sun 27 Apr 14

varteg1 says...

ex-St. Julians boy wrote:
They'd have to do me for failing to provide a specimen of blood. They'd probably be doing me for assault at the same time because anyone comes near me with a hypodermic gets warned off once and if they keep coming they get thumped.
So, when held down as you struggle to avoid the needle, I suggest they tip the needle with a drop of curare, for sure you'll never have to fear a needle again.
[quote][p][bold]ex-St. Julians boy[/bold] wrote: They'd have to do me for failing to provide a specimen of blood. They'd probably be doing me for assault at the same time because anyone comes near me with a hypodermic gets warned off once and if they keep coming they get thumped.[/p][/quote]So, when held down as you struggle to avoid the needle, I suggest they tip the needle with a drop of curare, for sure you'll never have to fear a needle again. varteg1
  • Score: 6

4:07pm Sun 27 Apr 14

jerymp says...

ex-St. Julians boy wrote:
They'd have to do me for failing to provide a specimen of blood. They'd probably be doing me for assault at the same time because anyone comes near me with a hypodermic gets warned off once and if they keep coming they get thumped.
PRAT!!!
[quote][p][bold]ex-St. Julians boy[/bold] wrote: They'd have to do me for failing to provide a specimen of blood. They'd probably be doing me for assault at the same time because anyone comes near me with a hypodermic gets warned off once and if they keep coming they get thumped.[/p][/quote]PRAT!!! jerymp
  • Score: 12

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