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No Justice for Orion: RCMP Officer Ducks Drunk Driving Charges

No Justice for Orion
by C. L. Cook
Jessica Kerr and Nelson Bennett of the Richmond News report, RCMP Corporal Benjamin Monty Robinson won't be charged with drunk driving, manslaughter, vehicular homicide, leaving the scene of an accident, or failing to provide assistance to the man he left dying on a darkened street more than a year ago.
Orion Hutchinson, 21 left to die in the street while
police officer who hit him "had beers."
It's been more than a year since Orion Hutchinson died alone on that cold Richmond road. Orion's motorcycle collided with a Jeep at the corner of 6th Avenue and Gilchrist Drive in Tsawwassen. The driver of the jeep fled the scene.
Police arrested the driver later on the night of the crash. When Delta Police administered a breathalyzer test, Cpl. Robinson blew over the legal alcohol limit to operate a motor vehicle legally in British Columbia, twice.
But he was not charged, pending investigation, until last Tuesday, when the CJB brought down its decision to charge Robinson with Obstructing Justice.
In a prepared statement, the Criminal Justice Branch (CJB) justified the decision, saying;

"Senior prosecutors with the branch have concluded that the available evidence does not establish to the criminal standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt, that at the time of the collision Cpl. Robinson had a blood alcohol level over the legal limit."

The wrinkle in the case is the time that elapsed between the accident and the administering of the breath test to the inebriant. Robinson says, after colliding with the motorcycle he left the scene on foot, sober. He walked home, he says, and had "a couple of shots of vodka" before stopped by a party, where he had "a couple of beers." He then returned to the accident scene, where he was questioned and taken into custody by Delta Police. This, he says, all occurred within about a ten minute span.

Speaking in defense of the Criminal Justice Branch decision, Delta Police chief, Jim Cessford said;

"I respect the decision of the Crown. The justice system works in a way that the police are the fact gatherers. We gather those facts; we present them to the Crown. They ultimately make the decision as to what charges will be laid."
But not everyone in Delta is as confident of the crown as chief Cessford. South Delta's Indepedent MLA, Vicki Huntington expressed her dismay at the decision, saying;

"I wish the attorney general's branch could release the reasons for their decision. This was a man who left the scene of (an accident) when a young man was dying."

She's not alone in wanting to hear an explanation of just why there is no charge of leaving the scene. The Hutchinson family, who have waited since the death of 21 year old Orion on October 25th, expressed relief that there will at least be some charge filed. Orion's mother, Judith Hutchison, in a written statement released to the press, said;

"We are relieved that the decision has finally been made to prosecute the individual who caused Orion's death. There is nothing that can take away our pain or repair our lives. However, we can only hope now to see some justice done."
It is the same hope for justice Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski's mother expressed. In addition to killing Orion Hutchinson, Benjamin Monty Robinson was the man in charge of the RCMP squad that infamously killed Dziekanski in the arrivals lounge of the Vancouver International Airport in 2007. Robinson was reassigned to the then nascent Olympic Integrated Security Unit after the tasering death of Robert Dziekanski, but has since the accident in Delta been suspended without pay.
This is the latest high profile case involving egregious RCMP behaviour both on and off duty in British Columbia, prompting calls again for the province to reestablish a provincial constabulary independent of the Mounties.
[UPDATE: In another article on this case written by the above cited reporter, Jessica Kerr says Benjamin Monty Robinson is suspended from the RCMP with pay. - ed.]

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