Update: Mountie pleads not guilty to obstruction of justice

Trial involving death of Tsawwassen motorcyclist begins in New Westminster courtroom

RCMP Cpl. Benjamin “Monty” Robinson pleaded not guilty to one count of obstructing justice in relation to the 2008 collision that killed 21-year-old Tsawwassen resident Orion Hutchinson.

Robinson’s trial began Monday (Feb. 13) in New Westminster Supreme Court. The small courtroom was packed with media, the victim’s emotional family members, and motorcycle riders—many of them wearing leather jackets to show their support for Hutchinson.

Robinson was off duty when his Jeep collided with Hutchinson’s motorcycle at Gilchrist Dr. and 6 Ave. on Oct. 25, 2008. Robinson allegedly left the scene of the incident and walked home, where he claimed to have consumed two shots of vodka to calm his nerves before returning to the crash site.

Crown prosecutor Kris Pechet said he plans to call one witness to the stand who will testify that at a 2007 Christmas party, Robinson said the best way to beat a drunk driving charge is to leave your licence at the accident scene, quickly down a few shots at home or a nearby bar, then return to the scene and say you took the shots to calm your nerves.

The Crown called five witnesses to the stand on Monday.

The host of the Halloween party Robinson attended on Wallace Avenue the evening of the accident, Debbie Seberry, recalled Robinson arrived between 5 and 6 p.m. with two of his children, aged 12 and seven. Seberry said she sent Robinson out to purchase alcohol for the adults and he returned with red wine for her, Miller Genuine Draft for her boyfriend, and a six-pack of Brahma beer for himself. Though she recalled seeing him with a drink during the evening, she could not remember how much he had consumed.

She said Robinson left the party around 10 p.m. when one of his children got tired.

Crown also called witness Robert Very to the stand who was walking with his girlfriend and dog in the area that night. Very said while walking he heard the sound of a motorcycle.

“And then there was dead silence and a massive explosion we first though was a bomb,” Very recalled. He said he turned around and could see debris falling to the ground.

Very claims Robinson approached him at the scene with his driver’s licence in hand.

“This man was being insistent that he give me what he had in his hands,” said Very. He said Robinson told him he wanted to walk his kids home and would return to the scene.

Very said he took Robinson’s licence then dialled 911 at 10:13 p.m. and gave the licence to a police officer who attended the scene.

According to Delta Police, Robinson’s breath samples gave readings of .12 and .10 mgs of alcohol. Delta Police recommended charges of impaired driving causing death and dangerous driving causing death.

The Crown decided not to lay any driving-related charges, concluding the available evidence did not establish proof beyond a reasonable doubt Robinson had a blood alcohol level over the legal limit at the time of the collision, or that his ability to operate a motor vehicle was impaired by alcohol, or that he was operating his vehicle in a dangerous manner.

A coroner’s toxicological analysis also reported alcohol in Hutchinson’s blood.

Two Delta police officers who were dispatched to the accident also testified Monday.

One of them was Const. Ken Usipiuk, who was tasked with checking on the wellbeing of Robinson’s children at their nearby home. Accompanied by paramedics, Usipiuk said the two children were “seemingly calm,” though paramedics decided the children should go to hospital for further examination.

Usipiuk said he did not see any alcohol bottles out in the home.

Defence lawyer David Crossin has not yet had a chance to call any witnesses to the stand.

The trial is being heard by Justice Janice Dillon and is expected to wrap up early next week.

Surrey resident Adele Tompkins, who is executive director of the B.C. Coalition of Motorcyclists, said though she did not know Hutchinson personally, the motorcycle community is “tight knit.”

“We’re all looking for some form of justice for Orion,” she said during a break. “I think this just really touched a nerve. Mostly that an RCMP officer who’s trained as a first responder would not even go and see if he (Hutchinson) was alive.”

Tompkins said police officers are held to higher moral standards, and need to meet those standards.

“I would like to see Monty Robinson lose his badge. I don’t see how he could ever be trusted. I know I could never trust him to do something in my best interest as a citizen,” she said.

The trial is scheduled to resume tomorrow morning.

reporter@southdeltaleader.com

For updates on this story, visit southdeltaleader.com.

Surrey North Delta Leader

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘Justice for Mona’ rally planned for Surrey

Security camera footage shows Mona Wang being dragged, stepped on during RCMP wellness check at UBCO

Sources receives $70K from SurreyCares

Funds will help with warehouse space for food programs in Surrey, White Rock, Langley

Drive-in movies coming to Cloverdale

Dolittle, Trolls World Tour playing one night each at rodeo grounds

Rooftop hatchlings ‘a nice addition’ to White Rock RCMP operations

Pair of seagull chicks hatched in ‘fenced playground’ on July 2

COVID-19: ‘Contactless’ donation drive in Surrey to help women in need

Items needed for women in shelters, transition houses in the Lower Mainland

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

VIDEO: Vancouver Island cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

VIDEO: Alberta man rescues baby eagle believed to be drowning in East Kootenay lake

Brett Bacon was boating on a lake in Windermere when he spotted the baby eagle struggling in the water

Police nab three impaired drivers in one night in Maple Ridge

Ridge Meadows RCMP served 80 impaired driving infractions in June

Conservationists raise concerns over state of care for grizzly cubs transferred to B.C. zoo

‘Let them be assessed now before their fate is sealed,’ urges B.C. conservationist Barb Murray

B.C.’s COVID-19 job recovery led by tourism, finance minister says

Okanagan a bright spot for in-province visitor economy

National Kitten Day aka the ‘purrfect’ day to foster a new friend

July 10 marks National Kitten Day, a special day to celebrate all things kittens

Lower Mainland YouTubers claim to be Kelowna display toilet ‘poopers’

RCMP can not speak to legitimacy of video, will be investigating

Haida matriarchs occupy ancient villages as fishing lodges reopen to visitors

‘Daughters of the rivers’ say occupation follows two fishing lodges reopening without Haida consent

Most Read