Premier Iain Rankin, left, accompanied by Deep Saini, president of Dalhousie University, fields question after touring a lab at the school in Halifax on Monday, March 29, 2021.Rankin faced fresh questions today about what happened in the summer of 2005 when he was arrested for drunk driving.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

Premier Iain Rankin, left, accompanied by Deep Saini, president of Dalhousie University, fields question after touring a lab at the school in Halifax on Monday, March 29, 2021.Rankin faced fresh questions today about what happened in the summer of 2005 when he was arrested for drunk driving.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

Nova Scotia premier responds to new questions about drunk driving charge in 2005

HALIFAX — Nova Scotia’s premier faced fresh questions today about what happened in the summer of 2005 when he was arrested for allegedly driving drunk.

Iain Rankin confirmed Monday he had been convicted of impaired driving in 2003 when he was 20 years old, and he also revealed that he faced impaired driving charges in 2005 but was found to be “innocent.”

During a news conference today, the 38-year-old premier declined to answer when reporters repeatedly asked if he had been drinking or was drunk before he was given a breathalyzer test on July 25, 2005 in the Halifax suburb of Bedford.

Court documents show Rankin was charged after that stop with impaired driving and was found guilty before being cleared when he won an appeal and the Crown didn’t produce evidence at his retrial.

Rankin today apologized for his actions and mentioned the 2003 conviction when he was “very young,” and he briefly referred to the second case, saying it had been dismissed in court.

The Liberal premier said he made some bad decisions in his early 20s when alcohol was a big part of his life, but he stressed that as premier he is a person with “integrity and honesty.”