Nova Scotia Premier Iain Rankin spoke at a news conference yesterday, repeatedly dodging the question about the “2005 incident” when he was arrested on the spot by Halifax police for flipping his car into a ditch. As it turns out, a Halifax officer who arrested Rankin in 2005 said that he smelled of alcohol and had a bar stamp on hand. When asked whether he was drunk when he flipped his car in 2005, Ranking dodged the question. He stated:
“As I said Monday, I want to reiterate that I’m very, very sorry for my actions as someone that was very young. It’s regrettable that I have to relive that experience right now.”
Rankin added that he was convicted of impaired driving in 2003, when he was 20 and that he was also charged in a second incident in 2005. The premier said that he was found “innocent,” although court records note he was initially found guilty but the conviction was later overturned on appeal.
Court records offer more detail on the case. According to those details, Ranking was driving the white Subaru, took a hard turn around a bend on Kearney Lake Road in Halifax and flipped the car into a ditch. The incident happened around 6 a.m. on July 25, 2005.
At Rankin’s 2006 trial, a construction worker testified at the court. The worker, James Pentecost, described the road as dry and clear, although it was dark. Pentecost said that when he saw Rankin and came close to him, he could smell alcohol on his breath.
The premier of Nova Scotia was found guilty of impaired driving in 2006 and he was sentenced to 14 days of jail time. Since the conviction was overturned on appeal, it’s unclear whether he served that time in jail.
Rankin said he’d been found “innocent” in the 2005 case, adding:
“I make no excuses for the kind of lifestyle that I lived when I was in my early 20s, so I want to be clear about that. I regret that alcohol was a big part of my life in my early 20s. I’ve moved on and I’ve lived a more safe lifestyle since in my 30s.”