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Faulty breathalyzers used in Port Moody drunk driving cases

PORT MOODY (NEWS1130) – Fourteen people who were given impaired driving suspensions in Port Moody in 2011 might not have been drunk at all.

An audit has found they were tested with breathalyzers that weren’t calibrated properly.

Those cases are now being looked at by the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles.

After Port Moody Police heard there may have been an issue with the breathalyzers, they asked the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner to look into it.

The OPCC then confirmed the officer neglected his duties. Port Moody Police then requested an additional investigation with an independent forensic scientist.

BC’s Justice Minister Shirley Bond is not pleased with the errors.

“Their records will be cleared of their impaired driving consequences and we are in the process of reviewing each one of those files to look at what else might be required…including reimbursement,” explains Bond.

That might include some fines.

“Costs like the cost of the fine for the roadside prohibition. But each one of those cases will be individually reviewed. I’m not happy we are having to deal with an error,” she continues.

“What matters to me is that British Columbians feel confident that impaired drivers are being taken off our roads,” adds Bond.

News1130 legal analyst Michael Shapray says it doesn’t make sense, you can cross examine a police officer and challenge the evidence for a speeding ticket but not when you get a roadside driving prohibition. “Five-thousand dollars in costs and consequences, a 90 day driving prohibition and a year with an interlock device on your car when you may not have been over the legal limit.”

Shapray says our system is unsophisticated. “In all prior times and in all other provinces, a person who blows a fail on a roadside device is taken back to the police station and is forced to blow on a more sophisticated device,” Shapray says.