A Wanaka man who alleged his blood samples had been
''tampered with'' was fined $1000 after being found guilty of
drink-driving following a judge-alone trial before Judge
Michael Turner in the Queenstown District Court yesterday.
Kim Paul Gwilliam (55) was stopped by police at a checkpoint
on State Highway 84 at Wanaka on December 13 last year.
Senior Sergeant Allan Grindell told the court an initial
breath test indicated alcohol was present and a
breath-screening test returned a result of more than 400mcg.
Gwilliam was then taken to the Wanaka Police Station, where
an evidential breath test provided a reading of 544mcg, but
Gwilliam elected a blood sample.
Snr Sgt Grindell said the samples were taken by a doctor, who
packaged and prepared them for sending to Environmental
Science and Research (ESR).
ESR scientist Noreen McGavin, of Porirua, told Judge Turner
the samples arrived on December 18, with labels and paperwork
identifying them as belonging to Gwilliam.
However, when the package was opened by an ESR staff member,
it was found the identification slips were not ''securely
attached'' to the sample bottles and a ''Reject: Loose
label'' note was made.
Ms McGavin said standard procedure was for the blood samples
to be in a bottle with the cap securely fastened, a
''T-seal'' placed over the cap and around the top of the
bottle and the identification label securely attached to
Because the identification label had been formed as a
''tube'' and was therefore not securely attached, Ms McGavin
said she was unable to provide a certificate under the Land
Transport Act following analysis of the blood.
However, under agreement with Police National Headquarters,
any samples that had not been contaminated - for example,
those that had leaked - were analysed anyway and a statement
prepared, rather than a certificate.
Analysis of Gwilliam's blood, which had not congealed or
deteriorated, returned a reading of 140mg of alcohol.
Defence counsel Russell Checketts submitted the bottles had
been tampered with after the doctor packaged them and before
ESR received them, based on the doctor's brief.
''He says he filled out the various things ... and `attached
them to each bottle'. There must have been external
interference with [the] blood samples.''
However, Judge Turner said there were ''no other issues''
with the samples and it was possible the labels had become
loose in transit.
In addition to the fine, Gwilliam, who had one previous
conviction for drink-driving, was ordered to pay $130 court
costs, medical expenses of $43, analyst fees of $91 and
witness expenses of $618.77, and was disqualified for six
''Drinking and driving is morally wrong and legally wrong,''
the judge said.