Tokunbo denies he was crash driver
Magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo told a policeman he was not driving a car that crashed over an embankment, a court heard yesterday.
Yet, the officer believed the veteran former prosecutor had been at the wheel and arrested him on suspicion of impaired driving in the incident on January 19. Mr Tokunbo, 64, has denied a charge that he refused a breath test after the crash on South Road, near the public entrance to Elbow Beach.
Police constable Colin Mill told Magistrates’ Court yesterday that he attended the incident at about 7.50pm, when he found a dark BMW, which he recognised to be the judge’s car, “completely off the road and resting in shrubbery”.
Mr Mill explained that he could see a man, who he knows now was Allen Robinson, propped against the wall of the embankment and bleeding from his forehead and face.
The policeman added that when he asked the man’s name the answer was an indecipherable mumble.
Mr Mill told the court: “I then saw Mr Tokunbo emerge from the back end of his vehicle, and I asked him if he knew the male’s name, which he gave me and provided his age to me.”
He said he could smell “intoxicating liquor” from the judge’s breath as well as from Mr Robinson.
Mr Mill added: “I then asked Mr Tokunbo who was driving the vehicle; he pointed at Mr Robinson and told me, ‘he was’.”
The policeman said he was “beckoned” by a John Jefferis who was on the road. He explained: “I went over to him, he informed me that when he attended the collision that he pulled Mr Robinson out of the passenger seat of the car.
“He did not say that Mr Tokunbo was in the driver seat of the vehicle.”
Mr Mill said that Mr Jefferis, who the court heard drove a taxi, later added that he had lifted Mr Robinson out of the passenger side window.
The court heard that Mr Tokunbo, from Warwick, said at the scene that he was not the driver of the crashed car.
Mr Mill added: “Mr Tokunbo, by this time, was stood on the roadside with the drop of approximately three feet on the side behind him.
“He was swaying, on multiple occasions. I had to ask him to move away from the edge, as I feared he may fall over the embankment.”
The policeman said: “He admitted to me that both him and Mr Robinson had been drinking whilst visiting Deborah Blakeney, at Mosquito Hill in Devonshire.
“With the information that I had received from John Jefferis, and my observations of Mr Tokunbo, I had reasonable and probable grounds to believe that he was the driver, and I arrested him on suspicion of driving whilst impaired and cautioned him, to which he made no reply.”
Mr Mill said that he requested breath samples for analysis and pointed out to Mr Tokunbo that if he was unable to do so because of a cut lip he had sustained, then a demand would be made for blood. He added: “Mr Tokunbo stated that he could blow, and he was then placed in the marked police vehicle.”
Mr Mill said that at Hamilton Police Station, later, he was made aware that Mr Tokunbo had refused to take a breath test.
Then, at about 11pm, the court heard, the constable was told that “new information had come to light”.
Mr Mill explained: “As a result, I attended the hospital to arrest Allen Robinson on suspicion of driving whilst impaired.”
On questioning by Charles Richardson, for the defence, Mr Mill confirmed that he had dealt with Mr Jefferis in his position as a police officer and had once been a jailer when he had been arrested, but could not say what the matter was.
Mr Richardson asked Mr Mill if he had taken Mr Jefferis’s “credibility” into consideration.
The policeman confirmed he did not.
He told the court that although it was “unlikely” he would operate a body camera in the case of road crashes, he did so on this occasion because of the “ambiguity” over who was driving.
Mr Mill added: “I believe that Allen Robinson was incapable of driving a motor vehicle.”
He acknowledged that the body camera footage, which was played in court, did not include any statement from Mr Tokunbo that he had been drinking with Mr Robinson. Mr Mill added: “That was prior to that.”
Mr Richardson suggested: “He never said it to you; you made that up.”
Mr Mill replied: “That’s not correct.”
The court heard yesterday that a woman made a 911 call to police after the crash, which Mr Mill said he followed up the next day.
Mr Richardson said: “When you called her, and asked who was driving, she told you it wasn’t the judge, didn’t she?”
Mr Mill replied: “That’s correct.”
The police officer maintained that he still believed Mr Tokunbo had been at the wheel, and he agreed with Mr Richardson when the lawyer asked: “So you believe it, even though you don’t have the information to prove it?”
Mr Richardson questioned Mr Mill about his written accident report, where the policeman confirmed he had listed Mr Robinson as the driver.
During re-examination by Mark Diel, for the Crown, Mr Mill said that he wrote that information “on instruction”.
The court later heard evidence from Sergeant Olasunkanmi Smart Akinmola, who was the custody sergeant on the night of the incident.
He explained that, following procedure, he requested a breath sample from Mr Tokunbo, who, according to the officer, replied that he had “no reason for it”.
Mr Akinmola said: “Consequently, I asked Mr Tokunbo that, are you refusing to take the test, sir? To which he said, ‘yes’.”
Mr Akinmola added: “Then, I explained to him, that refusal to take the test is an offence, to which he replied, ‘I understand’.”
The trial, before Cayman Islands magistrate Valdis Foldats, continues.
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