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Inquest into death of Peter de Groot opens this month in Nelson

Timothy Schafer Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
By Timothy Schafer Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
September 14th, 2021

A public inquest into the death of a man shot by police near Slocan in 2014 is set to begin in Nelson later this month.

The details surrounding the death of Peter John de Groot will be the subject of the BC Coroners Service public inquest scheduled to begin Sept. 27 at the Nelson Courthouse (9:30 a.m.).

De Groot was living in a cabin outside of Slocan at the time of his death in October, 2014, when he was involved in a confrontation with RCMP.

He fled to the woods from the incident and was shot by police after a four-day manhunt in the Slocan Valley. De Groot was reported to the BC Coroners Service as dead on Oct. 13, 2014.

Since then the de Groot family has filed a civil lawsuit against the RCMP, which was expected to be postponed until after the inquest.

In 2018, the officer involved in the shooting was cleared by the Independent Investigations Office (IIO) of any wrongdoing, noted a 2019 TND story on de Groot.

The IIO report on the matter concluded that the officer’s actions were justified and charges were not warranted, but de Groot’s family contended many key issues were left unanswered.

Along with a jury presiding, coroner Margaret Janzen will hear evidence from witnesses under oath to determine the facts surrounding this death.

“The jury will have the opportunity to make recommendations aimed at preventing deaths under similar circumstances,” noted a release from the province. “A jury must not make any finding of legal responsibility or express any conclusion of law.”

Not only will the inquest — a formal process that allows public presentation of evidence relating to a death — allow a jury to certify the identity of the deceased and how, where, when and by what means death occurred, but it will be open to the public.

With seating limited, livestreaming will allow people to virtually attend the inquest.

To access the livestream:

The mandatory inquest — for any deaths that occur while a person was detained by or in the custody of a peace officer — was originally scheduled for May 19, 2020 at the Rossland Courthouse, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Categories: Crime

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