12/17/2014 06:49 EST | Updated 02/16/2015 05:59 EST

Trevor Zinck and another man drank 26 beers, impaired driving trial hears

HALIFAX - The trial of a former Nova Scotia politician charged with impaired driving opened Wednesday with testimony from a worker at a Halifax-area bowling alley who said he believes Trevor Zinck and another man drank 26 beers between them on the night he was arrested.

Paul Richard, a part-time mechanic and clerk at Beazley Bowling Lanes in Dartmouth, told provincial court that when he started his shift on Oct. 2, 2013, at 4 p.m., Zinck was playing video lottery terminals with another man.

Richard said that by the time the two men were getting ready to leave at 9 p.m., he calculated the pair had consumed a total of 26 beers, based on a count he made in the beer fridge.

He said no one else in the largely empty bowling alley was drinking that night.

"The total was 26 between two people," he said. "I know for sure it was 26."

Richard said he kept a written tally of the number of beers the men drank and he called 911 from his van in the parking lot when he saw Zinck get behind the wheel of a car and leave.

He said he sold only one beer to each man, but he kept track of the sales made by his co-worker.

Under cross-examination, Richard said he recognized Zinck from media reports about his legal challenges as a member of the legislature, but he added that he had "no vendetta" against the politician.

Zinck was previously sentenced to four months in jail and a year's probation after he was convicted of fraud over $5,000 and breach of trust in the province's spending scandal.

Richard said he decided to keep track of the amount of alcohol consumed because he was concerned that one of the men would drink and drive.

"Mr. Zinck got behind the wheel," he said. "I didn't call (police) because it was Mr. Zinck. The focus was on whoever was going to get behind the wheel."

Richard said he had been working at the bowling alley for about three months and he said that he had not received any training on serving alcohol. He also said he had never kept track of any patron's drinks before.

Zinck represented the riding of Dartmouth North from June 2006 to June 2013. His trial resumes March 27.