Benjamin “Monty” Robinson had “severe” alcohol dependency at the time of a crash that claimed the life of a Tsawwassen motorcyclist in 2008, a doctor testified in New Westminster Supreme Court this afternoon (Feb. 20).
Dr. Paul Sobey, an expert in addiction medicine, conducted a medical evaluation of Robinson last month at the request of his defence lawyer David Crossin.
Based on an interview with Robinson, Sobey concluded that in October, 2008—the time of the crash—Robinson met five of the seven criteria he uses to diagnose alcohol dependency.
“In 2008, his substance dependency was severe—on a mild, moderate or severe scale,” Sobey said.
He added “it was quite obvious that he (Robinson) was depressed in 2008,” but Sobey was unsure whether the depression was a primary disorder or induced by alcohol.
Robinson, an RCMP corporal, is facing an obstruction of justice charge in relation to the Oct. 25, 2008 collision that killed 21-year-old motorcyclist Orion Hutchinson at the corner of Gilchrist Dr. and 6th Ave.
After the accident, he allegedly gave his driver’s licence to a bystander and left the scene of the accident to take his two children home, where he told police he downed two shots of vodka at home to calm his nerves.
Sobey said that Robinson’s use of alcohol after the accident “was consistent with they type of behaviour that I see in men who have alcohol dependency.”
During the cross-examination, Crown prosecutor Kris Pechet argued that there were many aspects of Robinson’s life that seemingly suffered no consequences as a result of alcohol. Pechet referred to areas of Sobey’s report where Robinson denied ever having missed work due to alcohol use and denied any financial consequences due to alcohol.
Pechet suggested that, at the time of the accident, Robinson still had the ability to think and make moral choices.
The defence also called Tsawwassen resident Brent Repin to the stand on Monday. Repin attended the 2007 Christmas party where Crown witness Anne Rough claimed to have heard Robinson tell party guests you can avoid a drunk driving charge by consuming alcohol after a collision.
Repin said he recalled seeing Robinson at the party, but did not remember seeing Anne Rough, nor did he remember hearing Robinson talk about drinking and driving.
The Crown is expected to cross-examine Repin tomorrow (Feb. 21) morning.
Before calling Robinson to the stand, his defence first plans to call on a psychologist who will testify that Robinson had been suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder before the 2008 accident, and continues to suffer from the disorder today.
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.