Benjamin “Monty” Robinson denied he drank alcohol after a fatal Tsawwassen crash in order to impede the investigation.
“I wasn’t thinking. I went to what has given me comfort,” Robinson testified.
Robinson, an RCMP corporal, took the witness stand this morning (Feb. 21) in New Westminster Supreme Court, where he is facing an obstruction of justice charge in relation to the October 2008 crash that killed 21-year-old Orion Hutchinson at the corner of Gilchrist Dr. and 6th Ave.
After the accident, Robinson said gave his driver’s licence to a bystander and left the scene to take his two children home.
Returning to the scene later, he told police he had downed two shots of vodka at home to calm his nerves.
When defence lawyer David Crossin asked Robinson if he had consumed the shots in order to impact the investigation, Robinson replied “no.”
Robinson had originally told police he consumed “a couple” of beers earlier in the evening at a friend’s Halloween party. In court today, he said that upon reflection, he actually drank five bottles of Brahma beer at the party.
When Crossin asked if he felt fit to drive after the party, Robinson said yes.
Robinson said he could not recall the details of the collision, but said the first thing he did afterwards was check on his children.
“I ensured my kids were OK and I got them out of the car,” Robinson said. “The motorcyclist was on the ground a distance away from my Jeep.”
“I was calling for assistance and I remember people being there.”
Crown prosecutor Kris Pechet asked Robinson why he, an RCMP officer trained in first aid, did not offer any medical attention to the motorcyclist.
“Yes, I could have went over (to the motorcyclist), but somebody was already there,” Robinson replied. “I opted to take my kids out of there.”
During cross-examination, Pechet suggested Robinson impeded the investigation by not telling police the actual number of beers he had at the Halloween party, nor the size of the vodka shots he drank at home after the crash.
On Monday (Feb. 20), Crown witness Anne Rough testified that, at a 2007 Christmas party, she overheard Robinson telling party guests you can avoid a drunk driving charge if you leave your licence at the scene of the accident and go home or to a bar, drink shots, then return.
Robinson said he attended that Christmas party, but denied making the statements.
Robinson was part of the group of RCMP officers implicated in the death of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekański who was tasered multiple times at Vancouver International Airport in Oct. 2007.
He said he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after the incident and continues to experience flashbacks, nightmares, night terrors, extreme sweating and nausea.
“When I go to bed, some nights I’ll actually sweat profusely and the sheets in my bed are soaked by morning,” he said.
Addiction medicine expert Dr. Paul Sobey testified yesterday that Robinson had “severe” alcohol dependency at the time of the collision.