Salmon Arm Law Courts. (File photo)

Crown seeks psychiatric assessment for accused in Salmon Arm church shooting

Lawyer will first have to convince judge that prosecution can apply for one at this stage

A psychiatric assessment for Matrix Gathergood is a point of contention between Crown and defence lawyers.

Gathergood appeared in Provincial Court in Salmon Arm on Aug. 27 via video from Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre.

Crown counsel Alison Buchanan told Judge Dennis Morgan that she had discussions with Gathergood’s lawyer, Jonathan Avis, the day previous. He was not in the courtroom Aug. 27 but articling student Dominique Verdurmen was standing in for him.

Buchanan said her intention is to apply for a psychiatric assessment for Gathergood to determine if he was criminally responsible at the time the offences he is charged with were committed. She said she wishes to go ahead if Avis is not going to request an assessment for the defence.

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Gathergood is charged with first-degree murder and aggravated assault in the fatal shooting of Gordon Parmenter and the wounding of Paul Derkach on April 14 during a Sunday service at Salmon Arm Church of Christ.

Avis’ position, Buchanan said, is that Crown is not able at this stage of the proceedings to request that assessment.

Judge Morgan said his understanding is Crown can’t go ahead, but Buchanan said she’s done a lot of research.

Morgan said the only thing the Provincial Court can do now is to hold a preliminary inquiry. He suggested a date be set for Buchanan to argue her case for a psychiatric assessment and that two days be scheduled for the preliminary inquiry.

The two lawyers are scheduled to meet with the court’s Judicial Case Manager on Sept. 3.

A preliminary inquiry, usually subject to a publication ban, determines if there’s enough evidence to proceed to trial.

@SalmonArm
marthawickett@saobserver.net

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