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Needle phobia letter ‘not a get out of jail free card’


Oct 9, 2022

A needle-phobic driver who convinced the crown court to overturn his conviction for refusing to provide a blood sample was warned he did not have a ‘get out of jail free card’.

Alexander Lawal, 24, of Brockles Mead, Harlow, was convicted by the Oxford magistrates in July of failing to provide a blood sample at Banbury police station on March 7 after being stopped on suspicion of driving under the influence.

Appealing that conviction to the crown court on Friday, he said he had repeatedly told officers and staff at the police station that a needle phobia meant he was unable to give the blood sample.

He produced a letter from his doctor confirming his phobia of needles.

Judge Michael Gledhill KC, sitting alongside two magistrates to hear the appeal, found in favour of Lawal.

“He has raised in his defence from the moment police first asked him to give a sample a reasonable excuse, namely that he has a phobia of needles,” the judge said.

“He repeatedly, on three occasions at the police station during the procedures he had a needle phobia and in our view the prosecution haven’t refuted his reasonable defence.”

The judge added: The defendant mustn’t leave this court building believing that he has a ‘get out of jail free’ card as to future stops by the fact that he has the letter which pre-dates this incident by over 12 months.”

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This story was written by Tom Seaward. He joined the team in 2021 as Oxfordshire's court and crime reporter.

To get in touch with him email: Tom.Seaward@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter: @t_seaward