Breathalyzer results allowed in Carol Berner trial
A B.C. judge ruled Monday that Breathalyzer results taken after four-year-old Alexa Middelaer was killed by a car could be used in the drunk-driving trial of the woman accused of hitting her.
Carol Berner, 56, showed no emotion in Surrey provincial court as a judge read that decision.
On May 17, 2008, Alexa and her aunt had just arrived to feed a horse on a quiet Delta road when a car crashed into them from behind.
Little Alexa did not survive her injuries.
In Berner's trial, which began on May 31, defence lawyers have argued that Berner was not read her rights properly and breath samples should never have been taken.
Alexa's mother Laurel Middelaer said that she was satisfied with the judge's ruling.
"It was validating for us, because we knew what happened at the scene, and to see that common sense and judgment prevail, that's really satisfying," she said.
Berner provided two breath samples three hours after the crash, which showed blood alcohol levels of .06 and .04 -- both below the legal impairment level of .08.
Based on the two tests, a forensic alcohol specialist estimated in court that Berner had likely consumed between two and eight glasses of wine before the accident.
But defence lawyers say there is still no clear evidence that Berner was drunk.
"The expert has said my client was not necessarily impaired based on all the evidence at the time of the blood alcohol readings," Berner's lawyer David Tarnow said.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Julia Foy