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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 2 Hansard (10 March) . . Page.. 472 ..



According to Mr Kaine, and this may well be true, most officers also record these details in their notebooks; so, were a driver to dispute the two-hour limit, clearly the constable would have to be called to court. Heaven help the constable if he or she had not written down this detail. I am sure that most judges would make short shrift of somebody who says, "It happened at such and such and I recorded it so many minutes later at the police station". This provision protects our police officers, but it also protects the liberties of our drivers. Mr Hargreaves claims that one of the reasons for this amendment is that it would save on unnecessary procedures and unnecessary expenditure. What we may well end up with is a lot more constables spending a lot more time in court giving evidence as to when they first stopped a driver. It seems inefficient to me that we would condemn them to that.

I am sure that all our officers are diligent in filling out their notebooks properly, but what we have here is a standard form that lists the information required to start the process that, hopefully, leads to full prosecution of all drink-drivers. I would hope that this Assembly would not pass something that could allow a drink-driver to get off. I would hate to think of that being an unintended consequence of this amendment. It is another little bit of paper that we have to deal with, but there are whole lots of little bits of paper that we all deal with every day. This little bit of paper, this section 10A certificate, gives both the driver and the police officer good protection. It sets the process in train. It clearly marks the time, the location and the officer who started this process so that right from the beginning there can be no doubt that the full procedures and the proper procedures have been covered.

I believe that we should not allow this amendment. I would hate to think that this amendment at some stage would let a drink-driver off because the proper chain of evidence had not been followed. With that in mind, the Government will not be supporting this amendment.

MR RUGENDYKE (10.50): Mr Speaker, it is my view from my experience that the section 10A certificate is, in fact, a superfluous document, an extra piece of paper that has no real place in the system. I thought it might be appropriate, Mr Speaker, to offer the Assembly a practical run-down on how drink-drivers are apprehended and the process that takes place with them.

At a random breath testing station, drivers are, obviously, randomly selected to participate in a screening test. The screening test is a process where, depending on the type of screening test device, a breath sample is taken and the device records whether a driver is over or under the limit. If it is the case that the driver is under the limit, the machine shows the word "pass" and the driver is able to go. If the screening test indicates that the machine believes that the driver has a higher concentration of alcohol than the law stipulates, the driver is asked to move over to the side of the road and the police officer makes a note in his notebook of the time, date, place, driver's name, date of birth, registration of the vehicle, and any other details that might be necessary to identify the driver of the vehicle. The driver is subsequently taken to a police station for a full breath analysis test.

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