On Monday, Nova Scotia Premier Iain Rankin publicly acknowledged he was charged twice with impaired driving nearly twenty years ago.
He revealed at a COVID-19 briefing,
“This is something that is well known amongst my family, my circle of friends, and my community. And I want all Nova Scotians to hear it from me.”
According to court documents, Rankin was charged in 2003 with impaired driving and driving with a blood-alcohol content over the permissible limit. His licence was suspended for a year, and he incurred fines.
After two years, he was charged afresh with impaired driving offences; however, the case was eventually dismissed, as per court documents.
“I make no excuses for my behaviour. I was wrong, and I made a bad decision. I’m very very sorry for my actions half a lifetime ago. I was selfish, it has not happened since.”
The details of the two cases came to light on Monday through the business and politics news site allnovascotia.com.
2005 conviction, appeal
Rankin noted that of the 2005 charges that he was “eventually found to be innocent.” He did not provide more information on the matter.
However, court records reveal that following a trial he was not guilty of driving with a blood-alcohol content above the legal limit but guilty of impaired driving.
He was sentenced to 14 days in jail to be served on weekends and given a two-year driving prohibition. He also got a year’s probation that contained the condition that he takes part in substance abuse assessment and counseling as stipulated by a probation officer.
Rankin’s conviction was overturned on January 9, 2007, on appeal and a retrial was ordered. According to court records, the Crown offered no evidence and the charge was dismissed.
Rankin pleaded guilty in provincial court to having a blood-alcohol level exceeding 0.08 on Sept. 5, 2003, after being charged two weeks before.
His sentence was inclusive of an order banning him from driving for one year, a $1,200 fine, and a one-year license suspension.
Information disclosed to Liberals in 2013
Rankin states he revealed the charges to the former premier, Stephen McNeil, and the Nova Scotia Liberal Party, when he first participated in the riding of Timberlea-Prospect in 2013, and again when he chose last fall to run for the Liberal leadership.
It is the first time Rankin has revealed the information to the public in front of news cameras and journalists.
He claims his declaration came after discussions of the charges came up internally earlier on Monday; however, he would not provide further information, calling it “immaterial.”
Brian Flinn, a reporter for allnovascotia.com, confirmed to CBC News that he was the journalist inquiring about the charges. He revealed he previously emailed the premier’s office on Monday afternoon, however, he did not hear anything until the COVID-19 briefing.
Reg Rankin, Rankin’s father, served on Halifax regional council, also has a history of impaired driving charges.