Two West Vancouver brothers charged with assault on a Vancouver Police Department officer have been found not guilty.
Troy and Brendan Robinson were both charged after an October 2018 traffic stop escalated into a melee that left a VPD officer with a fractured eye socket and nose, a concussion, bruises and scrapes. The incident was captured by numerous surveillance and bystanders’ cameras.
According to the B.C. provincial court ruling released on June 22, the Robinson brothers were downtown with a friend, looking for a place to eat, when the driver of the SUV they were in was pulled over for disobeying a traffic sign.
One of the officers testified that the three men in the car were aggressive and hostile during the stop.
As VPD Const. Grant Malm returned to his vehicle to radio for backup, he saw his partner, Const. Thomas Graham, “open the front passenger door and almost immediately thereafter enter the vehicle,” the ruling stated.
Brendan was buckled in the front passenger seat at the time.
“This violent engagement included grabbing, pushing, one forceful left-handed punch and shortly thereafter five to 10 upper cut punches,” provincial court Judge Reginald Harris noted in his ruling.
“Thereafter, Brendan Robinson punched Const. Graham a number of times in the face.”
Graham was later taken to hospital to be treated for the injuries.
At trial, Graham testified that he was attempting to remove Brendan from the SUV so he could arrest him. A person cannot be convicted of assault on a police officer if the officer was not “in the lawful execution of their duty” at the time of the incident. After reviewing the video evidence and testimony, Harris sided with Brendan.
“In this regard, Brendan Robinson had committed no criminal offence. Specifically, he did not grab or pull Const. Graham and therefore there was no basis to arrest him for assault,” the judge wrote.
Though Brendan was “hostile, belligerent, antagonistic and rude,” he did not threaten the officer and therefore was acting in self-defence, Harris ruled.
“In sum, Brendan Robinson endured a period of sustained aggression and only thereafter did he respond, thus, it cannot be said that his actions were driven by malice or an attempt to injure, rather, they suggest his actions were driven by a desire to protect himself from Const. Graham’s aggression,” the judge wrote.
As for Troy’s involvement, Harris said he did not find Malm’s testimony credible and there was no video evidence of Troy throwing a punch.
“Although there were occasions where he minimized some of the participant’s conduct, I believe him when he testified that he did not strike Const. Graham.”