Murder charge stayed in Pemberton death 

A second degree murder charge against a Mount Currie man was stayed this week due to a lack of evidence in the case.

On Monday afternoon 38-year-old Garry Jim was released from a North Fraser court, 12 days after Matthew Pierre was found dead in a notorious drinking area in the Pemberton woods.

"Right now basically Crown counsel, who are the lawyers for the police, have deemed that there is insufficient evidence to continue with the charge of second degree murder against Garry Jim," said Whistler RCMP Community Policing Officer Michelle Nisbet.

"So what this means... under Canadian legislation is that we have one year to re-lay a charge should further evidence be revealed."

Geoffrey Gaul, director of legal services for Crown counsel in B.C, said senior Crown counsel reviewed the case and determined that there was not a substantial likelihood of conviction based on the evidence. This is what prompted them to stay the charges.

Neither Gaul nor the police could be specific about the details of the case because the investigation is still ongoing.

But RCMP Staff Sergeant Hilton Haider said the death is still being treated as suspicious.

"It’s still being treated as suspicious and that may change once we get the toxicology reports and we get the pathologist’s full report," said Haider, adding that those reports could take six to eight weeks to come back to police.

"We have to let the forensics do their part on it."

Pierre’s body was found on Thursday, April 29 in the woods behind Signal Hill Elementary School in Pemberton.

He was 61 years old.

Christina Benson remembers Pierre after working with him in the housekeeping department at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler.

He was a houseman there and, for a time, she was his supervisor.

"He was such a nice man, such a friendly, friendly man."

Later, after she had left the Chateau, she started seeing Pierre on the streets in Pemberton. He had left his job.

"I always talked to him and he always asked me how my kids were doing," she said.

"It was such a shame and a shock to hear how his life ended up."

Police were called to the scene at 9 a.m. on April 29.

Later that day, as police were heading back to the office, they picked up Jim in Pemberton and charged him with second degree murder.

"We knew that he associated that area and that he was a person of interest at that time," said Haider.

Police suspect alcohol was involved in this case, just as it was in a previous murder in the same wooded area in Pemberton two years ago.

Ross Leo was only 15 years old when he was beaten to death in early May 2002.

His death galvanized the Pemberton/Mount Currie Drug and Alcohol Task Force. The task force is made up of a group of 12 local citizens and politicians, who are looking at drug and alcohol abuse in the community.

Currently the task force co-ordinator is gathering data and planning to bring his research forward at a strategic planning workshop in mid-June.

In the meantime, Wade Calvin Peters who pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the case against Leo, will be sentenced in B.C. Supreme Court on Friday, May 14.

Haider recognized that there may be concern in the community about Pierre’s death but he reinforced that it was an isolated incident.

He said: "There is not a public safety issue here."

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