Failing to provide a blood sample – Fear of Needles

Failing to provide a specimen of blood is not a drug-related offence, but does carry a 12 month disqualification (if convicted). If the police made a request for a blood sample and you refused, you will find yourself charged with failing to provide. 

In the case of R (Cuns) v Hammersmith Magistrates’ Court 2016, the High Court confirmed that a genuine fear of needles can amount to a reasonable excuse. They said; The CPS only have to disprove a reasonable excuse if there is some evidential basis provided by the defendant so that the issue is in play. If the issue has been raised with some evidential basis it is then for the prosecution to disprove it.

Sir Duncan Ouseley, the judge who heard the case, said it was not enough for a suspect to simply say he had a needle phobia. “It would otherwise be very easy for a person to assert during the course of the specimen taking procedure that he had an illness and it would be a very large task for the prosecution then to have to disprove all of that,” he said.

Older cases suggest that a defendant must provide written medical evidence from a doctor showing they suffer from a phobia.

At Swindon Magistares in Jan 2020, A TATTOOED car valeter suspected of drug driving told police he couldn’t provide a blood sample – because he was scared of needles.

But magistrates threw out the needle phobia defence, saying he had not provided enough medical evidence.


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