8 Sep 2011

Lawyer goes to great lengths to avoid breath test

6:31 am on 8 September 2011

A Westport lawyer has been convicted of drink-driving, despite going to great lengths to sabotage a breath-testing machine.

In March this year, Douglas Taffs was stopped in Westport and taken to the police station for the test.

He was later caught trying to escape over the police station's back fence and, once brought back, removed the breathalyser's power cord and hid it in a drawer.

Taffs then tried the urban myth of putting coins in his mouth to try to sabotage the machine's reading.

Prosecutor Sergeant Graeme Eden told Checkpoint it is one of the stranger cases he's dealt with.

"I hadn't heard of it before - and I've been dealing with these sort of things for many, many years. But apparently it's an urban myth about copper coins affecting the machine - but it is purely a myth.

"Once the officer that was dealing with him got rid of the coins, he was able to complete the breath test. It's certainly a bit more unusual than the run-of-the-mill."

Mr Eden says Taffs elected to give a blood specimen which showed he was over the legal limit.

Taffs will be sentenced on 10 October.