A millionaire banker claims he gave a reading twice over the drink-drive limit because he had thrown up moments before the breath test, a court heard.
Stephen Decani is accused of being twice above the drink drive limit in his £150,000 Aston Martin DB11 coupe on Kings Road in Chelsea, west London.
The 42-year-old, who lives in Chelsea Crescent, Chelsea Harbour, west London, where flats can sell for £3.3 million, was pulled over by police in an unmarked car after plain clothes officers noticed him allegedly drunk, getting into his white supercar.
Police allegedly witnessed him unsteady on his feet at 4.30am and appearing to be drunk as he opened the car door, got in, then drove off.
He was pulled over after officers followed him and caught up with Decani further down Kings Road.
The chairman and CEO of investment company, Newscape Capital Group, Decani denies being over the limit as he regurgitated moments before the reading was taken by police.
The reading taken by officers on June 9 was said to be 61 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath.
He appeared at City of London Magistrates Court wearing a white shirt and dark trousers.
Decani’s lawyer, who also represented England rugby star Danny Cipriani in his drink-driving case in April last year, told the court the breath test was not reliable.
Philip Lucas defending said: “The defendant was stopped by an unmarked police car and was completely cooperative.
“He disputes he consumed enough alcohol to put him above the legal limit.
“The second issue is the reliability of the breath test. The defence has an expert witness.
“This is not the same as the case of Cipriani, which was a challenge to the reliability of the machine.
“The defendant indicated he regurgitated at a particular point in the process and we have an expert report dealing with the effects of regurgitation on the results of the test.”
Julian Becker, prosecuting, wanted the trial to be adjourned while the police sergeant who administered the test could be called as a witness.
The officer had not been warned he needed to give evidence as a witness and Mr Lucas cited a ruling by Lord Justice Leveson that stated the case should not be delayed due to failures by the Crown Prosecution Service.
Mr Becker said: “I wish there was more done to this case.
“There have been some technical failings on the part of the CPS and I apologise for this.
“When there is a challenge to the reliability of the breath test the operator of the test would need to be called to be cross-examined.”
Mr Lucas added: “The Crown are at fault, they have not prepared the case properly and they are simply relying on their own failures to warn witnesses to adjourn the case.
“The case is a mess. We notified the crown a challenge would be made to the reliability of the test but the operator was not added to the witness list.
“We were not served with a proper case summary or witness statements.”
Chair of the bench Nick Tarry granted the adjournment as it was “in the public interest to have a trial on its merits”.
Decani will face trial later this year.
He was released on unconditional bail.
The Aston Martin DB11 starts at £144,900 and can reach 62mph within four seconds, with a top speed of 187 to 200.1 mph.
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