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Driver refused to use plastic breathalyser, court hears

A driver has been disqualified from driving for two years because she refused to put a plastic breathalyser in her mouth, Echuca Magistrates Court heard on Friday.

May 19, 2014 10:33am

A woman who refused a preliminary breath test because she was opposed to plastic has been taken off the road for two years.

Terry Seymour, 53, of Tasmania, appeared in Echuca Magistrates Court on Friday, pleading not guilty to the charge on the basis of conscientious objection to the use of plastic on the breathalyser.

During the hearing, Campaspe Highway Patrol Leading Senior Constable Kris Sutton gave evidence about when he stopped Seymour for a random breath test in Echuca about 4.30pm on December 10 last year.

‘‘She said ‘I’m not doing that. I’m not putting plastic in my mouth’,’’ Sen. Constable Sutton said.

‘‘I told her ‘If you refuse a breath test, your licence may be suspended and you may be fined’.’’

Sen. Constable Sutton said he told Seymour the alternative was accompanying him back to the police station for a breath test, but that would also require her to use a plastic breathalyser.

‘‘She said ‘I don’t think that’s right that you can take my licence off me because I won’t put plastic in my mouth’,’’ he said.

Representing herself, Seymour claimed she did not reject the test and should have been offered a blood test.

She disagreed with Sen. Constable Sutton’s evidence and said she had asked on several occasions if there was any other way she could produce a sample without using plastic.

‘‘I’m glad my life isn’t hanging in the balance on the basis of your field notes,’’ she told Sen. Constable Sutton during her cross-examination of him.

‘‘In 1994, I removed all plastic containers from my household, despite having three kids. Plastic has been linked to problems such as low sperm count, altered immunity, genital defects, arthritis, endometriosis, low birth weight, development and memory problems, dermatitis, diabetes and cancer.

‘‘The law is holding me to ransom for refusing to put plastic in my mouth. I’ve done nothing wrong.

‘‘I wasn’t drink driving, speeding or posing a risk to anyone... and I’m facing two years off the road for refusing to put a toxic substance in my mouth.

‘‘I’m not a criminal... The only criminal I believe is the plastic.’’

Seymour, who is unemployed, said she had been a professional driver for more than 30 years and was in Echuca at the time to apply for driving jobs.

‘‘I’ll be devastated if I lose my licence. I don’t know how I’m going to survive. I’ll be condemned to unemployment,’’ she said.

Magistrate Richard Wright said he could appreciate Seymour’s concerns, but the court system had no discretion since the parliament had chosen to introduce laws in relation to drink driving.

‘‘The law prescribes what a PBT device is and it is a plastic, sterile device that is discarded after use,’’ Mr Wright said.

‘‘As a consequence, I have no choice but to disqualify you from driving for two years.’’

No conviction was recorded, but she was placed on a six-month good behaviour bond.

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