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Application for jury to see photo of Myles Gray’s injuries made too late: coroner

Larry Marzinzik said his view would have been “very different” had lawyer brought it up earlier
Protesters hold banners with a photograph of Myles Gray, who died following a confrontation with several police officers in 2015, before the start of a coroner’s inquest into his death, in Burnaby, B.C., on Monday, April 17, 2023. The coroner presiding over the inquest says he won’t allow the jury to see a photograph showing injuries at the time the 33-year-old died, because the application was made too late in the process. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

The jury in the British Columbia coroner’s inquest into the death of Myles Gray nearly eight years ago won’t be allowed to see a photo showing the man’s injuries because the application was made too late, the coroner ruled Friday.

Larry Marzinzik said his view on admitting the photo would have been “very different” had the lawyer for Gray’s family, Ian Donaldson, brought it up earlier.

Gray died in August 2015 after a beating by police that left him with injuries including ruptured testicles and fractures in his eye socket, nose, voice box and rib.

Marzinzik agreed with Donaldson that the photo would most likely have added value for the jury at the proper time, but not as the inquest was coming to a close.

There was no application for photos to be admitted before testimony from officers involved in the struggle to restrain Gray or first responders who tried to revive him.

Marzinzik heard arguments from Donaldson, as well as Crown counsel and lawyers for Vancouver police, who opposed the admission of the photo, before deciding there was no longer an opportunity for witnesses to provide context for the jury.

He said evidence of Gray’s injuries have been well-documented for the jury through other materials and testimony.

Before outlining his decision not to allow the photo, Marzinzik told the inquest he was “torn between complete transparency and proper procedure.”

Speaking to media on Friday, Gray’s mother, Margie Gray, said the photo Donaldson wanted to show the jury was taken in the backyard where her son died.

She said procedure won over transparency in the coroner’s decision, and suggested witnesses could have been called back to provide context for the photo.

Of the 14 Vancouver police officers who testified at the inquest, most said they didn’t notice signs of injury besides redness on Gray’s face and some bruising.

Several firefighters and paramedics told a different story, including one who said the bruising was so severe he initially thought Gray was not a white man.

Dr. Matthew Orde, the forensic pathologist who performed an autopsy, testified Thursday that a “perfect storm” of factors led to Gray’s death, including his extreme physical exertion and the actions of police to restrain him.

“What we can say with some degree of certainty … is I don’t think he would have died when he did had it not been for the police interaction on that day,” Orde said.

The inquest was expected to finish Friday after 10 days of testimony, but it was delayed over the debate about allowing the photo.

Three more people are set to testify before the end of the inquest, including Supt. Shelley Horne, head of personnel services for the Vancouver Police Department.

—Brenna Owen, The Canadian Press

READ MORE: Forcible restraint by police among factors in Myles Gray death, pathologist says