Benjamin “Monty” Robinson gave partygoers tips on how to beat a drunk driving charge at a 2007 Christmas party, a Crown witness testified today (Feb. 20) in New Westminster Supreme Court.
Anne Rough, a Richmond high school teacher who graduated from South Delta Secondary School in 1988—the same year as Robinson—testified she overheard Robinson telling a small group of people how to best avoid a drunk driving charge at an annual Christmas party in Tsawwassen held one year before the accident.
“If ever you are drinking and driving and you come upon a road block, you should carry a small bottle of mouthwash and guzzle it before you go through the roadblock because, if you do so, the alcohol content will throw off the breathalyzer, if they administer one to you,” Rough recalled Robinson saying.
Robinson, an RCMP corporal, is facing an obstruction of justice charge in relation to the October 2008 crash in Tsawwassen that killed 21-year-old Orion Hutchinson. Robinson was off-duty when his Jeep collided with Hutchinson’s motorcycle at the corner of Gilchrist Dr. and 6th Ave.
After the accident, Robinson allegedly gave his driver’s licence to a bystander and left the scene of the accident to take his two children home. Last week Delta Police Const. Sarah Swallow testified that, upon his return, Robinson told her he had downed two shots of vodka at home to calm his nerves.
Rough said Robinson told the party guests if you are drinking and driving and get into an accident, you should leave your licence at the scene and, if you are close to home or a bar, go and take a couple of shots and return to the scene.
“If they question you, you can say you went home and had the shots to calm your nerves,” Rough recalled him saying. “They can never prove if you drank before or after the accident, and leaving your licence means that you haven’t technically left the scene of the accident.”
“They can’t really charge you with anything severe because they can’t prove if you had the drinks before or after the accident,” Rough further recalled Robinson saying.
Rough said she left the conversation at that point.
Defence lawyer David Crossin asked Rough if her recollection of the conversation could have been influenced by what she had read in the newspapers following the accident.
She replied “no.”
According to Delta Police, Robinson’s breath samples gave readings of .12 and .10 mgs of alcohol. The legal limit is .08 mgs.
The defence expects to call two expert witnesses to the stand before calling on Robinson himself to testify.
The first witness is Dr. Paul Sobey, an expert in addiction medicine, who will testify that Robinson was an alcoholic at the time of the 2008 accident and took the two vodka shots due to that addiction.
A psychologist is expected to testify that Robinson had been suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder before the accident, and continues to suffer from the disorder today 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.