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Magistrate sues senior for damages after his car was written off after crash

Khamisi Tokunbo (File photograph)

A magistrate is seeking damages of $35,000 from a senior citizen he says crashed his BMW as a result of negligence.

Khamisi Tokunbo appeared before Assistant Justice Jeffrey Elkinson yesterday in civil court to request costs and damages from Allan Robinson who crashed his car after blacking out.

Mr Robinson, who appeared as a lay litigant, made the case that Mr Tokunbo should share the costs equally as he was aware he had been drinking when he allowed him to drive his car.

The crash occurred on the evening of January 19, 2019, on South Shore Road, near the public entrance to Elbow Beach in Paget, after the pair, both aged 64 at the time, had been drinking alcohol.

Mr Robinson said he visited his friend Mr Tokunbo at his Warwick residence, at about noon on the day of the crash to watch football over “a few cocktails”.

He said at about 5pm, he drove Mr Tokunbo in his 2006 BMW 3 Series Coupe to Southampton to collect some pies they intended to deliver to a Deborah Blakeney at her Mosquito Hill residence in Smith’s Parish.

Mr Robinson said in his witness statement that after arriving at the house he consumed “three or four drinks” – his signature drink being vodka and ginger beer.

Mr Tokunbo told the court it was “not correct“ that the pair had been drinking continuously from noon.

A few hours passed before Mr Robinson drove Mr Tokunbo back towards his Warwick home at about 7.20pm.

He told the judge: ”I looked to my left at the passenger’s side and Mr Tokunbo was fast asleep which he normally did when he was feeling nice“.

Mr Robinson said as he approached Elbow Beach he began to feel dizzy.

“I didn't think anything of it because at times I feel light headed due to my COPD [Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease],” he said.

Mr Robinson recalled that the next thing he remembered was waking up in hospital where the nurse told him: “You drunken sight, you’ve driven over an embankment.”

Mr Robinson refused to give a blood sample to the police surgeon saying: “I have just been traumatised. No.”

He was then arrested. Mr Robinson said the details of the incident began to come back to him a few days later and he called police to tell them his side of the story.

He was fined $1,000 and banned from driving for 18 months after admitting refusing to give a sample.

Mr Robinson said he went to visit Mr Tokunbo at which point the magistrate began “talking aggressively about money”.

Mr Robinson said he offered to sell his motorcycle for $10,000 to pay for the damages but that Mr Tokunbo said: “Huh, that’s not enough. I guess when you die your sisters will sell your house and that’s when I guess I’ll get my money.”

Mr Robinson said: “I felt very hurt … I never went back over his house after that day.”

In his affidavit, Mr Robinson, who is retired with no income, made the case that the negligence should be shared equally between himself and Mr Tokunbo for “not only willingly giving me the keys before leaving his home, after we had a few drinks, but also having given me permission to drive after we had multiple drinks at Ms Blakeney’s house”.

He said in court: “I am here because I want him to take some responsibility … This man is an officer of the court. He allowed me to drive the car after I had been drinking.”

He said Mr Tokunbo was aware of his blacking out episodes but Mr Tokunbo said he had no reason to believe that Mr Robinson was in any way impaired.

Mr Tokunbo said he knew Mr Robinson enjoyed a drink or two but did not know him to be a drinking man.

He told the court: “I wouldn't have expected him to have had more than one or two drinks.”

Mr Tokunbo said that alcohol was not Mr Robinson’s drug of choice but that weed was. Mr Robinson told the court that alcohol had only become his drug of choice since meeting Mr Tokunbo.

Ms Blakeney made a brief appearance on the witness box and said she did not know how many drinks Mr Robinson had.

Mr Tokunbo said he either dozed or had his eyes closed during the journey and felt the car strike the curb near the public entrance to Elbow Beach. Mr Robinson said he had blacked out and had no recollection of the crash.

Mr Tokunbo said that Mr Robinson had told him at a later date that he had taken medication earlier in the day and wondered whether mixing it with alcohol had caused him to blackout.

Mr Tokunbo told the court that if Mr Robinson felt unwell he should have stopped the car.

He said: “He fastened his seatbelt and continued to drive in that state. That I believe to have been negligent on his part.”

Mr Tokunbo had the car written off as he said it was more prudent than having it repaired and he bought a similar model for $40,000.

He was able to get $5,000 from the salvage value hence he is asking for $35,000 from Mr Robinson.

Mr Robinson has requested that if he wins the case that Mr Tokunbo pay him $18,000 for the “lawyer pay out, pain and suffering due to large amounts of stress and injury caused”.

Mr Elkinson reserved judgment on the case to allow Paul Wilson, Mr Tokunbo’s lawyer, time to submit written legal submissions.