Fredericton police officer found guilty of impaired driving

Fredericton police officer found guilty of impaired driving

A Fredericton police officer was found guilty Thursday of impaired driving and given a chance to try treatment before a sentencing hearing scheduled for August.

Const. Darrell Brewer was charged with impaired driving in 2015 after he crashed his motorcycle on Fredericton's north side. His trial started in April 2016.

On Thursday, provincial court Judge Brian McLean said that based on witness reports, Brewer crashed his motorcycle on Union Street, collapsed to the ground, then left the scene shortly after.

McLean also recounted earlier testimony from Brewer's brother, Colin Brewer, who said the accused called him after the crash saying his bike "wouldn't start" and to pick him up.

Colin Brewer testified his brother did not appear intoxicated when he got into the vehicle but soon pulled out a pint of rum and started taking "generous" drinks, said McLean.

After driving around Fredericton for a while, Brewer asked his brother to take him home but to drive past the driveway. McLean said Colin Brewer admitted the brothers were trying to avoid the police.

But when they arrived, Brewer was confronted by officers and arrested for impaired driving. His brother said by then Brewer had consumed "most if not all" of the rum and showed a high degree of impairment, said McLean.

Court had also heard from an expert who testified that Brewer's breathalyzer test results indicated his blood-alcohol level was 150 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millimetres of blood. The legal limit is 80 mg.

McLean dismissed the brother's story as "fictional."

He said Brewer's brother testified he did not know what happened to the pint of rum after they arrived at the house and did not tell the arresting officers that Brewer had been drinking in the car.

McLean said it was also suspicious that Brewer collapsed to the ground after what was otherwise "a normal motor-vehicle accident" and, being a police officer, made a "hasty leave" after a bystander identified him.

He said he was satisfied that Brewer was driving while impaired.

Sentencing was adjourned until Aug. 23 to allow Brewer time to apply for a treatment program, which could allow him to avoid a criminal record.

Brewer, who was off-duty at the time of the accident, returned to "active administrative duty," or desk assignment, in late 2016.

Asked whether Brewer would remain on duty after his conviction Thursday, a spokesperson for the Fredericton Police Force said Chief Leanne Fitch will now seek legal counsel.