Andrea DeMeer Karl Gatzky outside the Princeton courthouse during a recess last October.

New trial ordered in Coalmont feud

Supreme Court faults key testimony

A man convicted last October of uttering threats against a Coalmont resident will get a new trial following a ruling from the BC Supreme Court.

Karl Gatzky’s conviction was overturned in a decision released Tuesday.

Because of a publication ban, the names of the alleged victim in the case, and any witnesses, cannot be identified.

According to the decision authored by Associate Chief Justice A.F. Cullen, the presiding judge made numerous errors when he established Gatzky’s guilt.

Gatzky is accused of threatening to shoot a Coalmont woman on April 2, 2015.

Related: Judge hopes Coalmont feud stops

The incident was described as part of an ongoing neighborhood dispute involving himself and his daughter Maryanne, and others in the tiny village.

The trial judge improperly ignored evidence given by Gatzky, the decision states.

Further, according to Cullen, too much weight was assigned to a key witness for the Crown who “did not display the characteristics of an impartial or careful witness.”

The trial judge called the witness “very important…He struck me as being a forthright, honest witness.”

Related: Little village has big problems

The appeal decision says this witness displayed antipathy towards the accused and sympathy for the alleged victim.

The witness claimed he heard Gatzky threaten to shoot the woman.

However the higher court found that his testimony at times contradicted the evidence of the complainant as well as evidence given to police.

“He was disrespectful to and argumentative with [Gatzky’s] counsel,” the decision reads.

The document indicates that at least twice this witness told defense counsel: “you’re full of it,” under cross-examination.

During the original trial Gatzky was acquitted of causing a disturbance, engaging in the threatening conduct and criminal harassment.

On the sole charge of uttering threats he was sentenced to two years probation and prohibited from going within 75 metres of the complainant’s house.

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