BREATH TEST: An officer prepares to take a random breath sample.
BREATH TEST: An officer prepares to take a random breath sample. Kerri-Anne Mesner

Police ‘training issues’ to be addressed after drink driving case

FAILURE by police to take a breath sample before charging a man with two counts of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol was not in breach of police policy or guidelines, but it was a training issue that will be addressed.

The confirmation came from a Queensland Police media spokeswoman after the Daily submitted questions about the actions of police after a Sippy Downs crash which ended in a District Court appeal.

Michael David Graham’s appeal was thrown out on June 24, after he’d contested guilty verdicts handed down by a Magistrate on two counts of driving under the influence.

The crash, in March last year, left two cars with significant damage.

Police arrested Graham nearby and gave evidence of his intoxicated appearance, but did not take a breath sample.

An officer also admitted to failing to include some evidence given by witnesses in their statements and was unable to explain why he’d originally told the court Graham had confessed, when after hearing recordings of the conversation, the officer agreed no confession was made.

Judge John Robertson threw out the appeal, finding no error in the magistrate’s decision, after the Magistrate had sided with evidence given by two police officers and a nearby resident.

A Queensland Police spokeswoman responded to the Daily’s questions about the police procedures in the incident.

“The matter has been reviewed and the comments concerning the criticism of the police by the Magistrate were considered,” the spokeswoman said.

“This conduct has been determined not to be in breach of service policy or guidelines and is a training issue which will be addressed.

“It should be noted the Appeal Court has reaffirmed the Magistrates decision in the finding of guilt of the offender for drink driving.”

The spokeswoman said Sunshine Coast police would continue to take a hard-line approach against drink driving.

“Sunshine Coast Police do not tolerate drink driving and will maintain the tough stance to ensure community safety is paramount,” the spokeswoman said.

“Drivers need to take responsibility for themselves, their passengers, their loved ones and other road users. Poor decisions by drivers cost lives.”