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Judge dismisses High Court appeal by Cape driver against his drunk-driving conviction

The magistrate had sentenced him to a fine of R2 000 or six months imprisonment, wholly suspended for a period of two years. File picture: Matthew Jordaan/African News Agency

The magistrate had sentenced him to a fine of R2 000 or six months imprisonment, wholly suspended for a period of two years. File picture: Matthew Jordaan/African News Agency

Published Nov 19, 2021

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Cape Town - A motorist who was arrested in 2019 for driving while over the legal alcohol limit has lost his appeal against conviction in the Western Cape High Court.

Peter Hall who was convicted in Worcester Magistrate’s Court in May this year had claimed in his appeal that his blood specimen was incorrectly obtained, sealed, handled and analysed.

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The magistrate had sentenced him to a fine of R2 000 or six months imprisonment, wholly suspended for a period of two years.

Hall argued that the magistrate had erred and misdirected herself by finding that his blood was obtained within the two-hour period; a registered medical practitioner drew his blood and the state proved the chain of custody of the blood sample beyond reasonable doubt.

During the case at the magistrate’s court, the State called Breede Valley Municipality traffic officer Ayanda Botla as a witness.

Botla testified that because of his experience, he has a pocketbook in which he records the times, and the serial numbers of the blood sample kits in respect of each incident.

He said he was therefore aware of the critical importance of maintaining an adequate record of firstly, the time the blood was drawn and, secondly, whether the blood sample belongs to the correct accused.

In his judgment, with which Deputy Judge President Patricia Goliath concurred, acting Judge Adrian Montzinger said he was satisfied that: Botla’s testimony was prima facie proof of the time the blood was drawn and, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, it was therefore conclusive proof.

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“After due consideration of the totality of the evidence we are of the view that the appellant was correctly convicted.

“We cannot find any misdirection in the magistrate’s factual or legal findings. We are not convinced that there is any basis on which to interfere with the findings by the magistrate.

“We are satisfied that the guilt of the appellant has been established beyond a reasonable doubt. The appeal against conviction is dismissed,” said Judge Montzinger.

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