Drunk driving trials scheduled

The defence theory is that the information in the machine could be flawed and Sproule wants a private expert to test the data.

An entire month next year has been set aside for Red Deer trials involving the legitimacy of recently legislated drunk driving rules.

Defence lawyer Kevin Sproule said on Tuesday that the 17 trials in July could also involve constitutional arguments pertaining to the workings of breathalyzer machines used by the police to test the alcohol content of suspected drunk drivers.

A test case involving the disclosure of information contained in the machine will be debated on Oct. 6 in Red Deer provincial court.

The defence theory is that the information in the machine could be flawed and Sproule wants a private expert to test the data.

Sproule said earlier he’s prepared to go as far as the Supreme Court. He said the high court would be asked to rule if the legislation passed in July 2008 is constitutional.

The legislation places the onus on the defence to prove that breathalyzer machines weren’t working properly when blood-alcohol readings were taken by police.

Previously, the defence could call an expert on blood-alcohol absorption rates and its expulsion from the body to theorize that readings may not have been as high as recorded.

It was then up to the judge to weigh the facts from the readings and the expert’s evidence to form his decision.

Sproule said other lawyers across the country have mounted similar challenges so it’s a question of which case makes it to the provincial appeal stage first, followed by a decision of the high court if it wants to hear that case.

jwilson@bprda.wpengine.com

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