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Judge concerned about delays as alleged Salmon Arm church shooter appears in court

Concerns about delays as alleged Salmon Arm shooter appears in court

As the man accused of killing a Salmon Arm church elder made a court appearance on Tuesday, the judge raised concerns about court delays.

Matrix Gathergood stands accused of first-degree murder and aggravated assault in connection with the April shooting during a service at the Church of Christ in Salmon Arm.

READ MORE: Accused murderer in Salmon Arm church shooting now facing arson charge

Gordon Parmenter, 78, was killed in that attack and a second man was shot in the leg but survived.

On Tuesday, Gathergood’s lawyer was looking for a two-week adjournment to go over a recently-completed psychiatric assessment with his client.

READ MORE: Salmon Arm church shooting survivor remembers elder gunned down during Sunday service

While the judge agreed to the adjournment, he raised concerns about the length of time the case has already been before the courts and brought up the Supreme Court’s Jordan decision.

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That decision allows cases that drag on past specific time limits to be tossed out due to what the court views as unreasonable delays.

One man killed in Salmon Arm church shooting
One man killed in Salmon Arm church shooting

Gathergood’s charges have been before the courts for less than a year, well below the 30-month threshold for more serious cases like Gathergood’s that is laid out in the Jordan decision.

Still, the judge made it clear to Crown and defence that he doesn’t want to see unnecessary delays in the case.

READ MORE: Alleged Salmon Arm church shooter charged with first-degree murder

Delays for which the defence is responsible don’t count towards the time limit spelled out in the Jordan decision.

The matter is expected back in court on Dec. 17, and court heard that Gathergood may forgo his right to a preliminary inquiry and elect to go straight to trial, a step that could speed up the court process.

READ MORE: Former foster child remembers Salmon Arm shooting victim as selfless man of faith

Gathergood is also charged with arson in connection with a fire at Parmenter’s mobile home the the month before the shooting.

On Tuesday, Gathergood appeared via video link from custody where he is detained under the Mental Health Act and spoke only a few words in response to direct questions.

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While a previous picture of Gathergood shows him closely groomed, on Tuesday he appeared in court with long hair and a bushy beard.

— with files from Jules Knox and Kristen Robinson

Alleged Salmon Arm church shooter charged with first-degree murder
Alleged Salmon Arm church shooter charged with first-degree murder