B.C. man’s Atkins diet defence in impaired driving case shot down

The BC Supreme Court has rejected a man’s attempt to blame a failed breathalyzer test on his low-carb, high-protein, Atkins diet.

Court documents lay out that starting the afternoon of Dec. 22, 2019, and until 5 a.m. the next day, Kenneth Chemko had a total of 13 drinks — including 10 two-ounce vodka sodas and three glasses of wine.

He was pulled over just before 2:30 p.m. on Dec. 23, 2019, and blew over the limit.

“After Mr. Chemko blew into the device, the device registered a ‘WARN’, and Mr. Chemko was issued an immediate 3-day driving suspension,” the court documents read.

However, in his exchange with officers, Chemko posited that his Atkins diet — which an expert is cited as saying it “essentially the same” as a keto diet — caused the machine to falsely over-report his blood alcohol content.

The original adjudicator in his case said it was likely that the amount of alcohol he had consumed, combined with a lack of food after 8:30 p.m. and only a few hours sleep, contributed to the valid reading.

The judge agreed.

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