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Officer didn't unlawfully detain Robinson after crash: Crown

The Crown argued this week that a Delta police officer didn't unlawfully detain RCMP Cpl. Benjamin "Monty" Robinson following a fatal collision in Tsawwassen in 2008.

The Crown argued this week that a Delta police officer didn't unlawfully detain RCMP Cpl.

Benjamin "Monty" Robinson following a fatal collision in Tsawwassen in 2008.

Crown prosecutor Kris Pechet argued Wednesday that Robinson, who was off-duty at the time of the crash, was not detained at the time he admitted to Const. Sarah Swallow he had consumed alcohol.

Pechet said Swallow had some general suspicions and, in the midst of a chaotic crash scene, made the decision to move Robinson to her car to speak to him further.

"She has a perfect right to, as a police officer, to do that," he said.

Pechet also pointed to Robinson's own knowledge of the law and his rights through his training and experience as a police officer, a fact that was not known until he was taken back to Delta police headquarters.

"His very actions after the accident speak to that point," he told the court.

"He had the wherewithal to know to leave his driver's licence at the scene... He knew what his legal obligation was. It was one of the first things on his mind."

Robinson's lawyer asked B.C. Supreme Court Justice Janice Dillon to exclude evidence given by the arresting officer, which included the Mountie's admission he downed two shots of vodka following the crash, because, he argued, his client gave the statement while he was unlawfully detained in the back of Swallow's police car.

Swallow's testimony was the subject of a voir dire, a trial within a trial to determine the admissibility of evidence. Justice Dillon adjourned proceedings Wednesday until yesterday at 2 p.m. (after Optimist press deadline) when she was to rule on the voir dire.

Robinson is charged with obstruction of justice in the Oct. 25, 2008 crash that killed 21-year-old Orion Hutchinson, who died after the motorcycle he was driving collided with Robinson's Jeep at the corner of 6th Avenue and Gilchrist Drive.

Robinson's trial, which began Monday in New Westminster, is scheduled to run for eight days.

Robinson's obstruction of justice charge stems from his actions following the crash. The officer left the scene of the collision, which occurred at about 10: 15 p.m., and walked home, a short distance away.

He returned 10 minutes later and advised police he had two beers at a party earlier and two shots of vodka at home.

He was arrested and given two breathalyzer tests at 11: 56 p.m. and 12: 16 a.m. Robinson's readings registered at .12 and .10. The legal limit is .08.

The family of Orion Hutchinson was not pleased by the turn of events.

"We're just very frustrated and upset by the delay and by the possibility that some of the statements uttered by the defendant might not be admissible because of a technicality involved by the Charter of Rights," Judith Hutchinson, Orion's mother, said Wednesday.

"It's obviously going to be upsetting to us and we just hope that the courts can resolve this quickly and make the right decision, in our view, so we can proceed and get back to what's really important about this case."

. For the latest updates in the case, visit www.deltaoptimist.com.

jkerr@delta-optimist.com