POLITICS

Former Nova Scotia politician charged with drunk driving testifies in defence

03/27/2015 12:05 EDT | Updated 05/27/2015 05:59 EDT
HALIFAX - Former Nova Scotia politician Trevor Zinck denied several pieces of testimony at his impaired driving trial Friday, including accounts from police that he was behind the wheel of his car the night he was arrested.

When he took the stand at his trial in Halifax, Zinck disputed testimony from several witnesses including one who said he and another man drank 26 beers between them on Oct. 2, 2013.

Zinck told provincial court he and a friend spent the evening at the bar of Beazley Bowling Lanes where they each consumed about six beers. He said after spending about five hours at the bar, he and the friend decided to take Zinck's car back to his apartment to continue drinking.

Earlier in the trial, a bowling alley employee testified that Zinck and another man drank 26 beers between them before leaving in a vehicle.

Zinck said he initially got in the driver's seat and began driving, but before leaving the parking lot his friend insisted on taking the wheel instead. Zinck said the friend drove the car back to Zinck's apartment.

Zinck told his judge-only trial he was walking from the car to his apartment building when a police cruiser approached him and an officer told him to get back in his vehicle. Zinck said his friend went to a nearby wooded area to urinate and did not come back.

"I said, 'Is this really all for me?'" Zinck told the court. "There were lights everywhere. It was quite a lot of officers on site."

Halifax police Const. Dan Kavanaugh told court that he stopped Zinck's car in the parking lot after receiving a report of a possible impaired driver.

Kavanaugh said Zinck, who has pleaded not guilty to impaired driving, initially agreed to the breathalyzer but became increasingly unco-operative and began cursing and shouting, asking the police if they knew who he was.

A phone Zinck was holding had to be wrestled away and Zinck had to be placed in handcuffs before officers could administer the breathalyzer, Kavanaugh said.

He said Zinck gave two additional breath samples at a police station, both of which were over the legal limit.

Sgt. Andrew Matthews also testified, saying he was in the area on another matter when he heard the impaired driving call and went to provide backup for Kavanaugh.

Matthews said when he spoke to Zinck, he noticed a smell of alcohol coming from inside the car.

When Zinck was brought to the cruiser for a breath test, his behaviour escalated, Matthews said.

"His language became progressively more foul," Matthews said. "He asked me for my name and mentioned that he knew people and that he was going to report my name to them."

Matthews said Zinck was passively resistant, clutching a cellphone and holding his limbs tight to his body. Handcuffs were used partly out of concern for their own safety, Matthews said.

"Clenching can turn into flailing quite quickly sometimes when alcohol's involved."

Zinck, who represented Dartmouth North from June 2006 to June 2013, will return to court Monday when closing arguments are scheduled.

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