An inquest into the 2014 death of Peter de Groot in a police incident near Slocan will be held at the Nelson courthouse starting Sept. 27. The event will be live-streamed on the BC Coroners Service website.
An investigation of the RCMP’s part in de Groot’s death took three-and-a-half years, and the BC Coroners Service has been working on scheduling an inquest for more than three years beyond that. In addition to many procedural and legal delays, the pandemic further slowed down the process.
De Groot allegedly fired a shot at police on Oct. 9, 2014, when officers responded to an argument between de Groot and another person.
De Groot then fled into the bush, and three days after the initial encounter was shot and killed by an officer after de Groot allegedly drew his firearm while hiding in a remote cabin. The police were not charged with any wrongdoing.
Under the Coroners Act, inquests are mandatory for any deaths that occur while a person was detained by or in the custody of a police officer.
The job of a coroner’s jury is to make recommendations with the aim of preventing future loss of life in similar circumstances. They determine the facts relating to a death and how it occurred, but do not assign guilt or blame.
Parties to the inquest, which will each have lawyers representing them, are the RCMP, the de Groot family, and the now-former RCMP officer who shot de Groot.
The deGroot family has many questions about the details of the shooting, including what each officer did and when, and whether or not de Groot was shot in the back. They want clarity on the several pathology reports that were produced following the death.
The hearing is expected to last up to 10 days. The livestream link, not posted yet, will soon appear at https://bit.ly/3AmEI5T.