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Driver was ‘uncomfortable’ about undergoing a breath test

A woman charged with running over twin brothers told an officer she was “uncomfortable” providing a breath sample following the collision.

Tracey Pitt, 51, has denied six offences in connection to a traffic collision at around 2.20am on January 29, 2012 which left Rudolph and Randolph Smith seriously injured. Among the charges are two counts of causing grievous bodily harm by driving while impaired and a single count of refusing a breath test.

According to a collision investigator, the brothers were either sitting or lying in the southbound lane of Woodlands Road when they were struck by Ms Pitt's car and dragged more than 40ft.

Neither of the brothers remember being struck, only waking up in hospital.

Custodial Sergeant Narase Samaroo told Supreme Court yesterday Ms Pitt was first brought to the Hamilton Police Station shortly after 3am having been arrested on the scene. At that time, he said her breath smelled of alcohol and her eyes were bloodshot.

He said Ms Pitt requested to speak to a lawyer, selecting Victoria Pearman from a list of attorneys, and asked for her sister to be notified that she had been arrested.

Sgt Samaroo said he told Ms Pitt that a call would be made to her lawyer after she had provided a breath sample, but asked the jailer to try to contact Ms Pearman. When the call went to voicemail, he again demanded a sample of breath.

He explained it is considered best practice not to allow suspects in drunk driving cases to contact a lawyer until after they have given a breath sample, saying suspects sometimes employ delay tactics.

“It's established in policy that the first 30 minutes from the time of arrest for an offence of this nature is the most critical time for the simple reason that alcohol in the blood system begins to be eliminated,” he said.

He said he had made an exception in the case of Ms Pitt in an effort to be “fair and impartial”.

“I told her it was in her best interest to provide a sample of breath for the simple reason that if she provided a sample it would confirm or justify by the result of the test that she was within the legal limit,” he said. “A refusal will leave doubt and constitute an offence.”

Sgt Samaroo said Ms Pitt agreed to give a sample and was escorted to the alco-analyser room.

However, as he explained the process, Ms Pitt interrupted him saying: “This is my first time. I'm uncomfortable. I'm not providing a sample.

“I didn't know two glasses of wine could do this to me.”

He said Ms Pitt did not appear to have suffered any physical or mental conditions that would prohibit her providing a sample of breath, describing her as “coherent, rational and intelligent”.

The trial is set to continue this morning.

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Published September 04, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated September 04, 2013 at 12:10 am)

Driver was ‘uncomfortable’ about undergoing a breath test

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