Drunk driving cases tossed due to bad paperwork
CTV British Columbia
Published Tuesday, January 22, 2013 5:59PM PST
Last Updated Tuesday, January 22, 2013 8:15PM PST
Roughly seventeen drunk driving cases have been thrown out after police cut corners by photocopying alcohol breath test calibration forms.
When defence lawyer Paul Doroshenko was working on a case involving suspected drunk drivers he represented, he found that calibration forms police fill out to prove breath tests are working had been photocopied, including the officer’s signature.
“We noticed that the police in Vancouver were not actually going through and completing one of these documents for each time that they calibrated and checked the device,” Doroshenko said.
“We have no idea whether or not this police officer was actually going through the steps to calibrate them.”
As a result, approximately 17 people who were received 90-day driving bans had them revoked by the superintendent of motor vehicles, who deemed the devices unreliable.
Potentially hundreds of drivers who were caught could fight their penalties and win as the photocopying took place between June and December of 2012, Doroshenko said.
Bob Rorison, spokesman for MADD Metro Vancouver, said he hopes the potential of receiving a 90-day ban would scare the drunk drivers who got off from repeating the offense.
“I’m hoping that the people that did get caught drinking and driving realize how lucky they are,” he said. “I’m also hoping that the Vancouver police department that did all this hard work will have some consequences for the police that made this stupid mistake.”
Vancouver Police Chief Jim Chu said he was aware that the department received a complaint about improperly filled-out calibration forms.
“We always strive to do everything the best we can within the requirements of what the courts require,” Chu said.
“Certainly there’s times also when we’re trying to create administrative efficiencies, and trying to keep the officers out on the streets so they can catch impaired drivers instead of being tied up in the office doing paperwork.”
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Mi-Jung Lee