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Continuity: Write on Empty Bottle

Tip 35: The simplest method of communicating the last change date of the alcohol standard solution placed into the wet-bath simulator is simply to leave the empty bottle on the Intoxilyzer desk with the change date written on the bottle. The next and any subsequent qualified technician then reads the handwritten notation from the empty bottle and copies it into his or her notebook and communicates to the Court that the solution was Manufacturer xyz, lot number was 123, change date was ddmmyy, and solution change officer was Cst. B.

This method, used by some members of a detachment, was discovered in the Bradford case of R. v. W.. It is hard to believe that any police service would use such an inefficient method of communicating alcohol standard change particulars. The image below is an excerpt from Exhibit 9 in R. v. W..

empty bottle of alcohol standard on desk
Image taken by defence photographer of empty bottle of alcohol standard sitting on desk in breath room beside the Intoxilyzer. Watch for a smilar empty bottle in the breath room video. Exhibit 9 in R. v. W.

This image was taken long after the date of the subject tests by a photographer hired by the defence. The existence of this image shows the importance of the defence having access to the breath room for photographic purposes, even long after the subject test events. This image was key in cross-examination of the qualified technician as to local practice concerning continuity: "Cst., although you are very careful in always referring to the Alcohol Standard Log, doesn't this image reveal that not all qualified technicians in the detachment use the Alcohol Standard Log? Instead some of them use the handwritten note on the bottle method?"

The use of this method of continuity control leaves open the possibility that this is just an old empty bottle sitting on the table, or that it is a bottle left over from an ASD calibration, or that somebody opened/emptied this bottle, rejected it and left it on the table. This method does nothing to exclude the possibility of an unscheduled alcohol standard change or a simulator switch.

This is a very poor method of continuity control. This image assisted in resolution of R. v. W. under the Highway Traffic Act.


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