Motorist who failed to provide blood sample over “needle phobia” loses appeal

Norwich Crown Court. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

Norwich Crown Court. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood - Credit: Archant

A man with a 'needle phobia' who refused to provide a blood specimen to police lost his appeal to overturn his conviction.

Joshua Savory, 24, of Latimer Road, Norwich, was convicted of failing to provide a specimen for analysis on August 7 last year at Norwich Magistrates' Court.

He appealed the conviction at Norwich Crown Court on Friday stating he had a phobia of needles.

The court heard Savory was driving a Transit van when he was stopped by a police officer at 9.50pm on December 27, 2018, in Birkbeck Road, Norwich.

A roadside drug test was carried out which provided a positive reading for cannabis and he was arrested.

Giving evidence in court, PC Rachel Stacey, who drove Savory to the police station on the night, said that when she explained to him the procedure of carrying out a blood test he became agitated and emotional.

PC Stacey said: "He said he hadn't taken injections and taken blood before and avoided dental treatment as a result."

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She said Savory cried at the police station and claimed he had a phobia of needles and refused to give consent for the blood test.

PC Stacey added: "He was upset, quiet, withdrawn and pale."

Prosecutor Sarah Taylor said Savory has a large tattoo and that this showed he could choose to overcome his fear.

While giving evidence on Friday, Savory showed the court his tattoo on his right arm, of the words 'you could die young', which he got after his father died.

When Savory was questioned on how he got the tattoo, he said: "It [the needle] doesn't go under your skin or into your vein, it doesn't draw blood out of you." Dr Yasir Hameed, a consultant psychiatrist who gave expert evidence in court, said some patients with a fear of needles can still have acupuncture and other procedures that are not medical.

Recorder Guy Ayers dismissed the appeal, stating Savory was not incapacitated by the fear of needles at the police station.

"Whilst he clearly does have a significant fear of needles, that's a fear he can overcome when he chooses to do so," he said.

Recorder Ayers did not make an order for costs.

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