Law firm tests breathalyzers

A Vancouver law firm is testing the accuracy of breathalyzers used in B.C.

Acumen Law brought 150 of the same devices used in B.C. that were deemed surplus in Illinois, and plans to test the Intox ECIR models for potential flaws.

“Our goal is to test them to determine what interfering substances can cause false readings,” lawyer Kyla Lee told CTV News. “In particular, we’re concerned about people who work in professions where they’re around a lot of chemicals.”

They also want to check for defects that may prevent people from giving a proper sample.

“There’s a real lack of research available because of the prohibition on defence lawyers and other independent scientists from obtaining these instruments,” Lee said.

Acumen tried to acquire the devices from the manufacturer, but was told the company has an agreement with the RCMP that they are "for law enforcement purposes only.”

Mothers against Drunk Driving Canada CEO Andrew Murie said defence lawyers can still request records from police and crown to see if the machines are working properly, calling the law firm's move a gimmick.

B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said he has confidence in the equipment.

Any testing conducted by Acumen will have to replicated by experts before it can be used in court, according to the federal justice department.

– with files from CTV Vancouver

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