Pro­ce­dure up­held

Supreme Court dis­misses B.C. driver’s ap­peal re­gard­ing breath­a­lyzer ev­i­dence

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - CANADA - BY JIM BRONSKILL

The Supreme Court of Canada is up­hold­ing pro­ce­dures that per­mit short­cuts for al­low­ing a motorist’s breath­a­lyzer test re­sults into ev­i­dence — even in cases where de­mand­ing the breath sam­ple may have been un­law­ful.

In a 5-4 rul­ing Thurs­day dis­miss­ing the ap­peal of a Bri­tish Columbia driver, the court af­firmed the ex­ist­ing char­ter process for chal­leng­ing a po­lice of­fi­cer’s de­ci­sion to or­der a breath sam­ple.

It means tech­ni­cians and tox­i­col­o­gists can’t be forced to tes­tify in court about the ac­cu­racy and rel­e­vance of breath tests when the ar­gu­ment is re­ally about whether po­lice had rea­son­able grounds to de­mand test­ing in the first place.

In­stead, the Crown can rely on a sim­ple cer­tifi­cate record­ing the breath read­ings of the ac­cused. Rul­ing oth­er­wise would re­quire ad­di­tional wit­nesses to at­tend court to give ev­i­dence on mat­ters that have no con­nec­tion to the law­ful­ness of the breath de­mand — and only add to the costs and de­lays in an al­ready over­bur­dened crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem, Jus­tice Michael Mol­daver wrote on be­half of the ma­jor­ity.

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