Officer involved in fatal confrontation with Dziekanski charged in car crash

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VANCOUVER - One of the officers involved in the fatal confrontation with Robert Dziekanski at Vancouver's airport has been charged with attempting to obstruct justice in connection to an unrelated car accident that killed a man.
Cpl. Benjamin Monty Robinson was off duty when his vehicle collided with a motorcycle in October 2008 in Delta, B.C., killing 21-year-old Orion Hutchinson.
Delta police had recommended a charge of impaired driving causing death and dangerous driving causing death, but the B.C. Crown says the charge assessment standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt was not met for those charges.
"Following a detailed analysis of the results of a comprehensive police investigation, the Criminal Justice Branch has concluded that no Criminal Code driving-related charged will be laid against Cpl. Robinson," said a statement from the branch.
The Crown said the charge of attempting to obstruct justice is based on alleged actions by Robinson after the collision.
As the matter is now before the courts, the Crown declined further comment.
Delta police forwarded their report to the Crown in June.
"Although we had submitted our report to Crown Counsel, we continued to provide clarification and additional information as requested by them," Delta Chief Const. Jim Cessford said in a statement released late Tuesday. "Essentially this collision has been under investigation since the 25 October 2008."
Cessford also said he respects the Crown's decision "and I trust that due process will run its course."
In an earlier, separate statement, Hutchinson's mother Judith and sister Daria said they were "relieved that a decision has finally been made to prosecute the individual who caused Orion's death."
They also said the last year has been "a horrible ordeal" for them.
"There is nothing that can take away our pain or repair our loss. However we can only hope now to see some justice done," the statement said. "Further to that, we will continue to try and be patient as this case unfolds."
Robinson was the most senior of the four RCMP officers involved in a confrontation with Dziekanski at Vancouver airport in October 2007, during which Dziekanski was shocked with a Taser and died. Robinson testified at a public inquiry earlier this year that he gave the order to use the Taser.
He was suspended with pay following the crash and RCMP spokesman Sgt. Tim Shields said Tuesday the suspension continues.
Shields said an internal code of conduct investigation was ordered after the accident, but that investigation will not proceed until the criminal case has concluded.
"We have to wait until the court proceedings are over and then we will hold the adjudication hearing where the final discipline will be decided upon," he said. "It only makes sense to wait until all the evidence has come in during the court process before that final disciplinary hearing is held."
The motor vehicles branch suspended Robinson's driver's licence for 90 days following the crash - a suspension he tried unsuccessfully to appeal.
The officer argued in B.C. Supreme Court in March that a motor vehicles adjudicator didn't properly consider his statement that he left the scene of the collision, had two shots of vodka, and then returned to the scene.
Robinson is scheduled to appear in court Dec. 8 on the obstruction charge.
His lawyer, Reg Harris, said Robinson will plead not guilty to the charge.
"Any criminal charge is a significant event for anybody, so it's hugely significant that he's now facing a criminal charge," Harris said.

Organizations: B.C. Crown, Criminal Justice Branch, RCMP Robinson's B.C. Supreme Court

Geographic location: VANCOUVER

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