A history with breathalyzers

Alleged drunk driving cop has blown it before.

Constable Blair Hickey, himself pulled over last week for drunk driving, once charged a suspected impaired driver for refusing a breathalyzer test even though the man asked for another chance.

Blair William Hickey, a 22-year veteran with the HRP, was arrested last week by the New Minas RCMP. The off-duty constable was pulled over on Highway 101, around 10pm, and found to have a blood alcohol level over the legal limit.

Way back in 2006, Hickey attempted, unsuccessfully, to administer a breathalyzer test to one Bradley Mitton at police headquarters. The 22-year-old had been pulled over by police after they noticed him revving his engine at a gas station, and subsequently when his car appeared to be swerving within his lane. Upon questioning, Mitton admitted to having drunk “a couple of beers” during a birthday party he attended at the Bayer’s Lake Kokomos. He was then taken to the police station and put in a room with Hickey.

Mitton attempted the breathalyzer test three times; once incorrectly placing his mouth on the machine, and twice blowing into the machine for several seconds but not until Hickey told him to stop.

“Mr. Mitton indicated that he was so nervous that he felt he was going to faint,” Judge Jamie Campbell wrote in his January 29, 2007 decision. “He said that he was not instructed on how long to blow. When he exhaled through his nose, he said that Const. Hickey became very upset and swore at him.”

Hickey wrote him up for refusing the test. Mitton would later testify he pleaded to be allowed to try again. As Campbell noted in his decision, Mitton didn’t refuse to give a sample, nor attempt to fake one.

The judge also took issue with Const. Hickey’s observation that Mitton displayed the “usual” signs of impairment.

“That observation is not one that carries a great deal with it,” the judge wrote. “It is impossible to tell whether the officer was recalling what he observed from this event or what he believed he observed based on his experience. Upon concluding that a person is drunk it is natural to assume in retrospect that the usual signs of impairment were present.”

Mitton was found not guilty of both refusing the breathalyzer, and the drunk driving charges.

The 48-year-old Hickey will be arraigned in February in Kentville provincial court. He’s suspended with pay pending the outcome of the charges. That’s due to the Nova Scotia Police Act, which says suspended officers must receive pay for at least 60 days.

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