It was an emotional day in Penticton’s B.C. Supreme Court chambers early Wednesday evening, as a man accused of aggravated assault after he shot his roommate with a 12-gauge shotgun was set free.
The jury found Matthew Cameron not guilty of aggravated assault and using a weapon for an indictable offence over the 2015 incident after a weeklong trial
“I’m just happy to have my life back,” Cameron told reporters as he left the courthouse.
Speaking for the family, defence lawyer Don Skogstad only said they “think the jury can see where the truth lay.”
As the verdict came down, Cameron’s family shed tears of relief, with one family member whispering, “It’s over,” while the family exchanged hugs in the gallery.
On July 13, 2015 RCMP were called to a residence around 10:30 p.m. on Lindsay Road after reports of shots fired. Cameron shot his roommate Kyle Miller, both 31 years old at the time of the incident, with a 12-gauge shotgun in the thigh.
The pair got into an argument earlier in the day after Cameron honked on the horn of a stolen truck the pair drove to a house in Summerland, where Miller was attempting to buy cocaine.
Much of the trial revolved around the credibility of Miller and Cameron, with lawyers taking turns poking holes in both of their testimonies.
For Miller, it was an issue of whether or not he was intoxicated during the incident, with Skogstad insisting that he was, while Miller told the court otherwise.
Skogstad had also pushed Miller on a number of issues he took with Miller’s account of the moments leading up to the shooting, including whether Cameron would have been able to have shot a 12-gauge shotgun with one hand and where the box of ammunition Cameron allegedly left on a table had gone.
An issue for both parties was the whereabouts of the shotgun, which was never recovered. While Crown lawyer John Swanson asserted Cameron and his mother had disposed of the gun, Skogstad contended that it was Miller who had the most to lose by allowing the police to find a gun that could have had his fingerprints on it.
That’s because, according to Cameron’s testimony, the gun had been introduced to the argument by Miller, who owned a couple of other guns, including an illegal 20-gauge shotgun.
Cameron’s own testimony, too, saw its share of cross-examination, with Swanson pointing out what he saw as major flaws in his story, including the question of why the Camerons washed their clothes following the incident.
Cameron’s account of the incident also lacked an origin of the gun in the argument, with Miller starting at one end of a hallway without a gun and appearing at the other end with the shotgun.