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Possible breach of PACE leads to conviction referral from CCRC 

A man’s conviction for failure to provide a specimen of breath is being referred to the Crown Court after a possible procedure breach by the police.  

Mr GF was convicted in July 2023 after failing to comply with a roadside preliminary breath test – he repeatedly refused to provide a specimen, claiming he did not believe a police officer was a real officer – and failing to provide a specimen at the police station. 

Mr GF applied to the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) in September 2023, based on his mental health and his autism being a ‘reasonable excuse’ and a defence to the charge.  

Police have since accepted they should have called an appropriate adult to the police station for the drink drive procedure. 

After a review by the CCRC, it is considered there is a real possibility the Crown Court will exclude the evidence of the drink drive procedure under s78 Police and Criminal and Evidence Act 1984, based on the failure to secure the attendance of an appropriate adult. 

It is also satisfied that there is no real possibility that the guilty plea in the Magistrates’ Court by Mr GF, who is not being identified because of his vulnerability, will be considered as evidence of a confession.  

[ENDS]

Notes to Editors:  

  1. The CCRC is an independent body set up under the Criminal Appeal Act 1995. It is responsible for independently reviewing suspected and alleged miscarriages of criminal justice in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It is based in Birmingham and is funded by the Ministry of Justice.    
  1. There are currently 10 Commissioners who bring to the CCRC considerable experience from a wide variety of backgrounds. Commissioners are appointed by the monarch on the recommendation of the Prime Minister in accordance with the Office for the Commissioner for Public Appointments’ Code of Practice.  The Chairman, who is also a Commissioner, is not involved in the casework decision-making process. 
  1. The CCRC usually receives around 1,500 applications for reviews (convictions and/or sentences) each year. Since starting work in 1997, the CCRC has referred around 3% of applications to the appeal courts.    
  1. The CCRC considers whether, as a result of new evidence or argument, there is a real possibility that the conviction would not be upheld were a reference to be made. New evidence or argument is argument or evidence which has not been raised during the trial or on appeal.  Applicants should usually have appealed first. A case can be referred in the absence of new evidence or argument or an earlier appeal only if there are “exceptional circumstances”.      
  1. If a case is referred, it is then for the appeal court to decide whether to uphold the conviction. 
  1. More details about the role and work of the Criminal Cases Review Commission can be found at www.ccrc.gov.uk. The CCRC can be found on Twitter @ccrcupdate