Appeals on drink-driving conviction fail

It was third time unlucky for a Queenstown chef who failed to convince the Court of Appeal his drink-driving conviction was a miscarriage of justice.

Both the High Court and the district court before it ruled Vaughan Grosvenor Mabee had no defence to the charge. Yesterday, the Court of Appeal followed suit, blocking the man from further appeals.

"Mr Mabee has had the opportunity to pursue these technical and unmeritorious arguments on two previous occasions. There is no reason why he should be afforded that opportunity a third time," Justice Helen Winkelmann said.

In November 2015, Mabee was involved in a car accident. He left the scene and was later found at his employer’s home where he failed a breath test.

While on the way to the police station for an evidential test, Mabee told the accompanying officers he had knocked his head during the accident and they diverted to Queenstown Lakes District Hospital.

After examination by a doctor, police asked for a blood specimen to be taken, to which the defendant consented. A nurse then gave the sample to police who later sent it to scientists.

Analysis found 137mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. The criminal limit is 80mg.

Mabee argued the police presence at the hospital amounted to unreasonable and arbitrary detention — "abuse of police powers".  He also claimed the correct procedure for taking a blood sample was not followed.

A health professional must tell the person blood is being taken for evidential purposes and while the doctor could not remember specifically doing so, he said it would have been his normal practice.

Mabee’s complaint about the specimen being delivered to ESR by police similarly gained no traction with Justice Winkelmann.

"There has therefore been reasonable compliance with the provisions and there is no risk of a miscarriage of justice."

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