POLITICS

Former Nova Scotia politician Trevor Zinck guilty in drunk driving case

04/29/2015 04:00 EDT | Updated 08/05/2015 12:59 EDT
HALIFAX - A former Nova Scotia politician who testified in his defence that he drank half a dozen beers before getting behind the wheel of a car was found guilty Wednesday of driving over the legal limit.

At his trial, Trevor Zinck disputed testimony from several witnesses including a bowling alley employee who said the former provincial member and another man consumed 26 beers in total on Oct. 2, 2013.

Zinck told provincial court that he and a friend each drank about six beers at Beazley Bowling Lanes in Dartmouth over a five-hour period before they left in his car to go to his apartment to continue drinking.

He said he initially got in the driver's seat and began driving, but he quickly switched places and allowed his friend to take the wheel.

The Crown argued that was sufficient on its own to convict him if the judge accepted his version of events and the two positive breathalyzer tests.

Judge Frank Hoskins did not believe Zinck.

"I conclude that Mr. Zinck's evidence should be rejected almost in its entirety," Hoskins said. "He embellished his evidence, was disingenuous and at time parts of his evidence seemed contrived."

Hoskins fined Zinck $1,000 and prohibited him from driving for one year effective immediately. A separate charge of impaired driving was stayed.

Outside court, Crown prosecutor Melanie Perry said the sentence was appropriate.

"If this were a case where there had been an accident ... or he had a prior criminal record for impaired driving, certainly he would have received a higher sentence," said Perry.

Zinck said he had no choice but to respect the judge's verdict.

"It was a difficult time in my life," he said after the ruling. "I have moved on and I will continue to move forward in a positive way."

A week after he was charged with driving over the legal limit, Zinck was sentenced to four months in jail and a year's probation for fraud over $5,000 and breach of trust in the province's spending scandal.

Zinck was a former NDP and Independent member who represented the riding of Dartmouth North from June 2006 until June 2013.