Veteran RCMP officer Corporal Benjamin (Monty) Robinson, whose involvement in Robert Dziekanski’s death and unrelated conviction in a fatal accident made him an example of the bad apples the Mounties have been unable to fire, has voluntarily left the force.
Mr. Robinson’s discharge papers were signed Friday, the same day the disgraced officer was in a British Columbia court for sentencing for obstructing justice following the fatal crash in 2008, said Deputy Commissioner Craig Callens.
“I received Mr. Robinson’s RCMP discharge documents and I signed them,” Deputy Commissioner Callens, the force’s top commander in B.C., said in a statement.
“While I have been clear that I was seeking his involuntary dismissal, the opportunity to discharge him from the organization this morning was one which eliminated further delays, costs and uncertainty.”
Mr. Robinson’s discharge means he will no longer face internal discipline but his legal troubles could continue for some time.
The 42-year-old was convicted this year of obstruction of justice after his vehicle struck and killed 21-year-old motorcyclist Orion Hutchinson in Delta, south of Vancouver, in October, 2008.
Mr. Robinson and three other Mounties are also facing perjury charges in connection with their testimony at the public inquiry into Mr. Dziekanski’s death at Vancouver’s airport.
Mr. Robinson told his obstruction of justice trial that, immediately after the 2008 crash, he went home and drank two shots of vodka to “calm his nerves.” A judge concluded Mr. Robinson was using his RCMP training in an attempt to fend off accusations of impaired driving.
At his sentencing hearing Friday, the Crown asked for a sentence of between three and nine months in jail or a conditional sentence of up to 18 months.
The maximum penalty is 10 years in prison.
“This was not simply an attempt to obstruct justice,” Crown lawyer Kris Pechet told the court. “It was a successful attempt that effectively misled the officers conducting the investigation of Mr. Robinson, as he knew it would.”
Mr. Robinson’s lawyer, David Crossin, submitted a binder containing letters of support for his client. Mr. Crossin also described months of treatment for alcoholism and post-traumatic stress disorder as he argued for the more lenient sentence.
He said Mr. Robinson is genuinely remorseful for what happened.
“To repair the damage and make amends and seek some kind of healing process … will need a lot of work in this case,” Mr. Crossin said.
“It is not just words.”
Mr. Robinson, dressed in a suit and tie, stared straight ahead during the hearing, while a packed gallery listened to the submissions.
Asked by the judge whether he wished to address the court, the man stood and uttered one sentence, inaudible to the gallery. After the hearing, his lawyer said Mr. Robinson told the court he was “exceedingly sorry” for Mr. Hutchinson’s death.
Outside court, Mr. Hutchinson’s friends and family talked about the pain they continue to feel almost four years after the young man’s death.
“It broke apart my family and the people I love, so it’s hurt everybody a lot,” said Kasey Schell, Mr. Hutchinson’s step-sister.
“He [Mr. Robinson] hasn’t shown any remorse to me or my family, from what I’ve heard. Maybe that would be a different story, if [we got] a heartfelt apology. But his silence so far has been just cowardly to me.”