The Salmon Arm Law Courts (File photo)

Accused in Salmon Arm church shooting waives right to preliminary inquiry

Court proceedings for Matrix Gathergood will move to Supreme Court trial

The man charged with a fatal shooting in a Salmon Arm church in April has opted to skip a preliminary inquiry in his court process.

Matrix Gathergood, who usually appears in Salmon Arm court via video link from prison, could not be seen Tuesday, Dec. 17.

The court heard that staff were unable to establish a video link to Forensic Psychiatric Hospital in Coquitlam where he is now being held.

Jonathan Avis, Gathergood’s lawyer, told Provincial Court Judge Dennis Morgan that Gathergood is waiving the option of a preliminary inquiry. He will, instead, proceed straight to trial in BC Supreme Court.

The purpose of a preliminary inquiry is to determine if there is enough evidence to proceed to trial.

Gathergood is facing charges of murder as well as aggravated assault.

Read more: Crown seeks psychiatric assessment for accused in Salmon Arm church shooting

Read more: Man accused in Salmon Arm church shooting also charged with arson

Crown counsel Alison Buchanan told the court that she and the defence have agreed to meet soon to discuss factors such as how condensed they can make the trial, how long it will take and what the issues will be.

If the Supreme Court trial were to proceed with judge and jury, as opposed to judge alone, it could not be held in Salmon Arm as the courthouse does not have a courtroom that can accommodate a jury.

The case will return to court on Feb. 4 when a date for the trial is expected to be set.

Along with the murder and aggravated assault charges, Gathergood also faces a charge of arson in relation to inhabited property. That charge is in connection with a fire that badly damaged the Parmenter family home on March 14, a month before the shooting. Gordon Parmenter was fatally shot on April 14 and another church member was shot in the leg.

The next court date for the arson charge is Jan. 7.



marthawickett@saobserver.net

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