Editorial — Robinson sentence must be appealed

Sentence for ex-RCMP officer needs to be stiffened, as police officers must be held to a higher standard.

The sentence handed down to former RCMP Cpl. Benjamin Monty Robinson is a disgrace.

It leaves the justice system in ill repute. Everyone involved in this obstruction of justice case should do all they can to see that the sentence is changed to more properly fit the crime, and the criminal.

Robinson was the officer in charge of a four-man RCMP squad who Tasered Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski to death at the Vancouver Airport in October, 2007. One year later, in October, 2008, he was at a party in South Delta. He left and, while driving home, struck and killed a 21-year-old motorcyclist, Orion Hutchinson.

Robinson had his children in the car and immediately left the scene of the crash with them. He went home, downed several shots of vodka, and then returned to the scene.

He was charged and eventually convicted of obstruction of justice because he made it impossible for Delta Police to collect evidence regarding impaired driving. He never pleaded guilty, but stretched the case out all the way. At his trial in February, court was told he had previously told friends how to beat an impaired driving charge.

Robinson still faces a charge of perjury over his testimony to the Braidwood Commission, established following the Dziekanski death.

On Friday, July 27, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Janice Dillon sentenced Robinson to a 12-month conditional sentence on the obstruction of justice charge. One month is to be served under house arrest. He received no jail time.

Robinson did not resign from the RCMP until July 20, the day his sentencing hearing began. He will receive an RCMP pension, recognizing all his years in the force, including the past four years, where he has been paid while not working.

Dillon’s sentence completely glossed over the fact that Robinson was an RCMP officer. As such, any conviction on an obstruction of justice charge is far more serious than in other circumstances.

She also said he deserved a lighter sentence because he is of native extraction, a statement that has drawn scorn from numerous aboriginal leaders.

The sentence must be appealed. It cannot be allowed to stand, if we truly believe that police must be held to a higher standard than other citizens when they are convicted of breaking the law.