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This course familiarizes defence lawyers in Ontario, Canada with the most important protocols used by qualified technicians in over 80 mg / 100 mls blood alcohol concentration cases. If your client has been charged with excess alcohol driving or care or control you need to know how breathalyzers work. In preparation for cross-examination of breath techs and government forensic scientists defense attorneys need to know Henry's Law and its application to evidentiary breath testing equipment, particularly the Intoxilyzer® 8000C approved instrument used in Ontario. This course examines the Quality Assurance (QA) and Quality Control (QC) measures documentation kept by provincial and municipal police. The course has approximately one hour of video lectures accompanied by Quiz questions that will help teach you how to prepare for Court. Any defence lawyer who is defending an over 80 charge in Ontario should take this course.
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|Section 1: Terminology, Definitions, and Equipment|
Definitions of "Instrument" and "Approved Instrument'
Approved screening devices (ASDs) in Ontario use a fuel cell system for a quick single analysis of a breath sample. After the single electrochemical analysis, they need time to reset to zero. Their calibration (accuracy check) is checked infrequently.
Approved instruments in Ontario, including the Intoxilyzer® 8000C, use an infra red (IR) system of analysis. Inside the 8000C, IR light is emitted and sent through a sample chamber containing the breath provided by the subject. Some IR light is absorbed at certain wavelenghs if ethanol is present. The IR light then passes through filters allegedly specific to IR light at about 3.4 and 9.4 microns wavelength. The filtered IR light is then detected producing electrical signals. Numbers are attached to the electrical signals. Many readings can be sampled as the individual blows into the mouthpiece. This permits an analysis of the slope of blood alcohol concentration over the seconds of the blow. Mouth alcohol can sometimes be identified and flagged as an error. IR instruments such as the 8000C have additional automatic systems that may flag as errors, Radio Frequency Interferance (RFI), an interferent (such as acetone on breath), or ambient alcohol floating in the breath room air. Approved instruments are used in Ontario together with wet-bath simulators containing alcohol standard. During a normal breath testing sequence the operator can observe how closely the 8000C reads (90 to 110 mg/100mls) as compared to the known alcohol standard (allegedly 100 mgs/100mls).
Who are the Manufacturers Who Own These Trademarks?
This lecture provides an overview of what the defence bar generally, and a particular defence lawyer specifically, need to know in order to make full answer and defence on the issue of scientific reliability of an approved instrument. The CFS will concede that Scientific Method applies to evidentiary breath testing. Assuming that scientific method is at the centre of St-Onge Lamoureux scientific reliability, then the defence needs to fully know the apparatus and protocol, as it is supposed to function, and as it functioned with the client.
|Section 2: Henry's Law and Simulators|
|Quiz 1||4 questions|
Do your best to answer these questions using your own common sense. I've included this Quiz 1 at the beginning to give you a chance to think for yourself about how breath alcohol concentration can possibly be used to evaluate blood alcohol concentration.
|Henry's Law is a rule in science that defines the relationship in a closed jar, or other system at equilibrium, between concentration of a substance in the liquid below and the concentration of the substance in the gas above, at a known temperature.|
|Quiz 2||3 questions|
These questions are designed to provoke discussion. Do your best to answer. Don't worry if your answers don't inspire confidence in evidentiary breath testing in Ontario. Maybe something is wrong with the deep lung air paradigm we use in Ontario. Start a discussion. Hint: Search on the Internet for another paradigm suggested by Dr. Hlstala in Washington.
|Quiz 3||4 questions|
This Quiz is much more serious. Hopefully you've already learned a fair bit about the application of Henry's Law in a simulator. If the temperature of the alcohol standard isn't right then the alcohol standard is not a good alcohol standard. A calibration check using a bad alcohol standard is no calibration check at all. Reliability of the system has been compromised. Think through all the other ways the system could be compromised.
|Section 3: Configuring the Alcohol Standard|
|Quiz 4||3 questions|
This is another Quiz designed to get you thinking before you view the lecture. Try the Quiz now, you can always go back again later. You may need to check the 2014 Operational Procedures of the Alcohol Test Committee. You need to know this stuff inside-out to catch the breath tech in an error.The concepts raised in this Quiz will provide you with fruitful cross-examination. Why not start a discussion about it?
|Whenever a Qualified Technician changes the Alcohol Standard, it is essential that he or she also perform the steps outlined in the Training Aid for "Configuring the Alcohol Standard"|
|Quiz 5||3 questions|
These quiz questions reveal other fruitful areas for cross-examination. If you don't understand recirculating and non-recirculating modes don't feel bad - sometimes experienced breath techs get confused. Imagine what you can do in cross-examination to a breath tech who doesn't understand that maximum alcohol standard usage for non-recirculating systems is significantly less than for recirculating. Let's suppose a small detachment has only two working simulators - one attached to the Intoxilyzer and one used for ASD calibration. If one of those simulators goes out for repair it might be tempting for a breath tech to use the good simulator on the ASD first (non-recirculating) and on the Intoxilyzer second (recirculating). If the breath tech thinks they can use the solution 50 times they are most definitely wrong. Visit my office sometime and I'll show you the difference.Alcohol standard continuity is a huge potential area for disclosure requests and cross-examination. You're the lawyer, you know all about continuity of evidence in other settings, what could possibly go wrong with the continuity of a liquid in an unsealed jar between Sunday and Friday? What disclosure do you need? Look at the Discussion area.
|Section 4: Quality Assurance Checks at Start of Shift|
|Quiz 6||2 questions|
Sometime I would like you to take a hands-on Intoxilyzer course in my office. That would give me a chance to show you each of the ordinary Esc Esc sequences. I also invite you to carefully read the Intoxilyzer Training Aid of December 2013. It has a lot of material on Esc Esc sequences. Note that you can alter dates on Intoxilyzer Test Records using Esc Esc commands. Please note that in addition to the ordinary Esc Esc level 1 commands there is a hidden level 2 set of Esc Esc commands accessible only with the correct password. The password isn't very complex but it permits a competent or not so competent police officer to change basic settings on the 8000C. That could be dangerous and affect the whole calibration of the machine. I'll save advanced Esc Esc commands for another course for the high achievers.
|In Ontario there are three Esc Esc Sequences that must be run by the qualified technician to establish Quality Assurance (QA)|
|Quiz 7||3 questions|
Understanding which Esc Esc commands produce paper records and which ones don't is essential in COBRA disclosure litigation. The Crown will often take the position that if you've got all 3 QA check test records you have all the QA information at start of shift. Maybe a test record card that showed a failed diagnostics test wasn't disclosed because it wasn't kept but it was printed. Maybe there is information about the alcohol standard expiry date saved in COBRA but not printed, as argued by the Crown, on the test record. You need to know this stuff cold and you need to watch THE WHOLE VIDEO to look for discarded test cards. If there is something you don't understand here please contact me or start a discussion.
|Section 5: First Subject Breath Test|
|When the Green "Start Test" button is pushed the approved instrument automatically commences a subject test sequence that includes air blanks, diagnostics, reference checks, calibration checks, and the subject test.|
|Quiz 8||8 questions|
You've watched endless hours of clients blowing into Intoxilyzers. But can you tell the difference by pump sounds alone between an air blank and a calibration check? Do you know the sounds of diagnostics checks? Unfortunately camera angles and screen resolution are usually very poor. If you hear a strange tone or see the arresting officer texting you need to know the particular part of the ACABA sequence that is running. You need to know that so you can ask intelligent questions of your colleagues and expert and impress your client. At what point in the ACABA sequence did the breath tech look at the simulator temperature display? At what point in the sequence did the breath tech leave the room, turn on the fan, clean her hands with GOJO, receive a text, or answer an inquiry? This level of competence requires familiarity with normal Intoxilyzer sequences.
ACABA Sequence: Important Differences Between 8000 v. 8000C
|Section 6: Mouth Alcohol Bias|
How Does Mouth Alcohol Affect a Breath Test Result?
|Quiz 9||6 questions|
Sometime, please take my hands-on Intoxilyzer course for defence lawyers and you'll have an opportunity to blow into an Intoxilyzer with a small amount of alcohol in your mouth. Better still bring your true BAC up to about 50 mg/100mls and try blowing into an Intoxilyzer with a bit of mouth alcohol or bread in the mouth. Some of the time you'll blow your true BAC, some of the time you'll generate an "Invalid Sample" error or exception, and some of the time you'll blow a very significant false positive. If you try it a few times you'll eventually get duplicate tests with 02 agreement. The only safe way to prevent mouth alcohol bias is to follow the international literature - strict 15 minute observation and deprivation period.
|Section 7: Role of an Expert Witness|
What Evidence You Need in Court
|Quiz 10||7 questions|
This Quiz is designed for members of the Public. The answers will be obvious to a lawyer.
The focus of the real doubt described in R. v. St-Onge Lamoureux is scientific reliability rather than scientific accuracy. See paragraph 48.
I am a lawyer with a criminal law and drunk driving defence practice in the Greater Toronto Area. I was called to the Ontario Bar in 1979. Since that time I have prosecuted and defended a great number of impaired driving and over 80 charges. I have a special interest in forensic science as it relates to approved instrument breath testing. I own both evidentiary instruments and screening devices. I present tutorials for defence attorneys at my office in Mississauga, and elsewhere in Ontario and Quebec. I have presented at Law Society of Upper Canada and other Bar association seminars in Ontario and at a conference in the United States. I know what technical defences are likely to be successful and which ones are not likely to result in acquittal. Most importantly, I have a very good understanding of the limitations of these instruments. I know when they are likely to make mistakes. They are not infallible.