EDSON, Alta. – The Alberta man who became a YouTube sensation for enthusiastically belting out “Bohemian Rhapsody” from the back seat of an RCMP cruiser has been convicted of impaired driving and refusing a breathalyser test.
Robert Wilkinson will have to pay a $1,400 fine and will be prohibited from driving for one year.
Video footage captured on the cruiser’s internal camera of Wilkinson’s passionate performance was later sent to the 29-year-old as evidence for his trial.
At the urging of friends, Wilkinson posted it to YouTube, where it went viral, amassing nearly nine million hits.
Wilkinson had no defence lawyer and represented himself at trial but failed to convince the court the arrest was a violation of his Charter rights.
He arrived at the court building wearing sunglasses, a Viking helmet complete with horns and a NASA T-shirt proclaiming: “I need my space.”
He had been arrested while driving home from a bar in Edson, Alta.
On the video, a scruffy, bearded Wilkinson delicately takes off his glasses as he launches into the six-minute Queen classic, gesticulating wildly at times and scrunching up his face with angst for the sad bits.
He ends with the second-last line of the tune, but changes it from “Nothing really matters to me” to “Nothing really matters, even the RCMP.”
Throughout the top-of-the-lungs performance, the arresting officer kept his cool and said little except to encourage Wilkinson to “calm down.”
Wilkinson earlier said in an interview that he didn’t want to send a bad message to young people about drinking and driving.
He wrote an apology to the band on his Facebook page, then posted an encore performance of “Handle With Care” by the Traveling Wilburys while wearing a T-shirt reading: “I don’t get drunk. I get awesome.”
Wilkinson said his brief bout with fame didn’t change his life much.
The unemployed karaoke singer said he received $1,000 from the American cable network TrueTV so it could air the video on its show World’s Dumbest Criminals.