Trial of accused in Salmon Arm church shooting expected to be brief

Crown won’t dispute not criminally responsible by way of a mental disorder defence

  • Jun. 2, 2020 11:50 a.m.

By Tim Petruk

Kamloops This Week

A gunman alleged to have killed one man and wounded another in a shooting inside a Salmon Arm church last year is expected to be found not criminally responsible by way of a mental disorder (NCRMD), a judge has been told.

Lawyers met on Tuesday for a brief hearing in B.C. Supreme Court in Kamloops ahead of the trial of Matrix Gathergood, who is facing one count each of murder and aggravated assault stemming from the April 14, 2019, shootings at the Church of Christ in Salmon Arm.

Gordon Parmenter was shot to death in the church, while Paul Derkach suffered gunshot wounds.

Gathergood, 25, has been in custody since his arrest following the shooting. He underwent a court-ordered psychological assessment last September.

His trial is slated to take place on July 21 in in Salmon Arm. In court on Tuesday, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Dev Dley was told the trial would be brief.

Read more: Man accused in Salmon Arm church shooting to stand trial by judge alone

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“We’re only anticipating there will be one witness — the psychologist that examined Mr. Gathergood and provided the opinion that Mr. Gathergood qualifies for an NCRMD defence,” Crown prosecutor Alison Buchanan said.

“The report is very thorough. I don’t think it’s going to be a lengthy examination or cross-examination.”

When an NCRMD ruling is made, an offender is dealt with by the B.C. Review Board, rather than criminally. The review board can detain a person in a medical facility and order treatment and supervision in the community as it sees fit.

Buchanan and defence lawyer Jonathan Avis said they expect to file an agreed statement of facts at the beginning of Gathergood’s trial that will outline the circumstances of the shootings.

“The Crown will not be arguing that he does not qualify for an NCRMD defence,” Buchanan said.

Gathergood is also facing an unrelated arson charge stemming from an incident a month before the shooting. In that instance, he is alleged to have set fire to Parmenter’s home.

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