PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. – Imagine what it was like for a former peacekeeper and soldier when police burst onto the man’s property in the moments prior to his death, unannounced and heavily armed, a lawyer for Greg Matters’s family asked of a coroner’s jury Monday.
Matters was fatally shot by a member of the RCMP emergency response team on his rural property near Prince George, B.C., in September 2012.
“Consider as you hear the evidence unfold, what the effect on Mr. Matters … alone in his farmhouse when four heavily armed members of the police force wearing camouflage fatigues entered and a helicopter circles overhead…,” Cameron Ward said.
Ward said the officers showed up with no search warrant 40 hours after the latest incident in an ongoing “feud” between Matters and his brother.
He told jurors they will hear that the 40-year-old former soldier was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.
“I expect the evidence will be that police knew Greg didn’t have any firearms,” Ward said.
But Matters was still shot twice in the back with an M16, Ward told the three women and four men on the coroner’s jury.
The lawyer for the attorney general told jury members in his opening statement that as they hear evidence they may find that suicide is one finding open to them.
Coroner T.E. Chico Newell reminded the jurors that none of the statements by lawyers are evidence, and they must rely on what they will hear from witnesses in the week ahead.
Matters’s mother dabbed tears from her eyes as pictures of her son were shown on a large screen and the family’s lawyer explained the circumstances of his death.
She held the hand of her daughter, Tracey, sitting a row ahead of her in the public gallery.
Tracey Matters will testify later today at the inquest.