Defense counsel Michael Owens called a surprise witness in the Constable Brett Henry impaired driving case on Monday, supporting Henry’s assertion that he was not too intoxicated to drive.
Debbie McDougall, an acquaintance of Henry, was at the Gas Tavern when he arrived there in the early hours of March 3. Henry had just been dropped off by Constable Darcy Bear, a fellow officer that also testified in Henry’s case.
McDougall is a Community Care Assistant at the Victoria Hospital, where, according to her testimony, she deals with intoxicated people and alcoholics on a regular basis. McDougall said she has also dealt with alcoholism for years in her personal life.
McDougall said that she was at the Gas Tavern with some friends, who wanted to go dancing. She said that they had an understanding that if there were a ‘bunch of drunks’ there, they would not stay, partly in consideration of one of the group members who is a recovering alcoholic.
In her testimony concerning Henry, McDougall said he came in after 1:00 pm. McDougall described Henry as someone she knows casually, having been introduced about eight years ago.
“When I saw him walk up to the bar, I knew he wasn’t drunk, and went to say hi,” McDougall told the court. “I wouldn’t approach him if he was drunk because of my friends.”
McDougall said she spoke with Henry for about half an hour, also describing an incident in which a female patron came up to him, said something about racism, and slapped him.
“She was very load and obnoxious” said McDougall. “He took it very well.”
Under cross examination by Crown prosecutor Bill Burge, McDougall said that Henry’s stance was normal, that he could stand without touching the counter, and that she didn’t offer him a ride home because he did not need it.
“If I felt he was intoxicated in any way I would have left,” said McDougall.
McDougall said her own consumption of alcohol that night was limited to three ounces of wine and one vodka over six hours that day. She said she did not notice a smell of alcohol on Henry.