Gerald McDonald

Gerald McDonald

Coroner says beating led to death of North Delta senior

But those who allegedly assaulted Gerald McDonald won't be charged.

While a coroner’s report directly links an assault on Gerald McDonald to his subsequent death, the people involved in last year’s altercation won’t be charged with causing the 80-year-old’s demise.

And no charges of assault in the senior’s beating will be laid.

The violence began Sept. 20, 2011 in the 11700 block of 95A Avenue in North Delta, when 48-year-old David McDonald took his three Jack Russell terriers for a walk.

A pair of teens heading down the road in the opposite direction fanned out, forcing McDonald and his dogs off the road.

McDonald said, “Hey, would it hurt you guys to show some common sense and share some of the road?”

Soon after, four people appeared at McDonald’s home. A few began hitting two of the cars on the property with baseball bats.

McDonald and his father Gerald came out of the home and confronted the group.

The family says a 16-year-old girl punched the octogenarian in the face, and he responded by hitting her.

And that’s when the bats were turned on him.

He was beaten badly to the arms and lower body.

Two weeks later, McDonald was dead from a heart attack, and a B.C. coroner makes no bones about linking the two events.

Coroner Kate Corcoran listed the cause of death as “homicide.”

She also said that “considering the facts of this investigation, it is reasonable to conclude that the September 20, 2011 assault was the cause of the cascading events that led to Mr. McDonald’s demise.

“Simply stated: but not for the altercation and resulting physical injuries, Mr. McDonald would very likely not have died when he did.”

However, when laying charges, the justice system must rely on an autopsy report, which does not agree with Corcoran’s assertion that the two events were linked.

Samantha Hulme, spokeperson for B.C.’s Criminal Justice Branch, told The Leader homicide charges will not be considered because the autopsy report makes no link between the attack on McDonald and his death.

In fact, assault charges in McDonald’s beating are also not being considered.

Through police interviews with witnesses and other evidence gathered, Crown counsel believes it does not have enough evidence to forge ahead with assault charges.

However, Gregory Smithies, 52, who was one of the people allegedly involved in the melee, is being charged with assault with a weapon and possessing a weapon for a dangerous purpose after allegedly going after one of the neighbours who was standing near the fight.

McDonald’s granddaughter Hailey McDonald said there’s been a terrible miscarriage of justice.

She has filed a complaint with the Police Commissioner’s Office against the Delta Police Department.

In a meeting with police and Crown, Hailey said she was told her grandfather shouldn’t have gone outside.

“Well hindsight is 20/20,” Hailey said. “Obviously, in retrospect, if I could redo that day, obviously he wouldn’t have gone outside. In my mind, it doesn’t justify anything that they did.”

The family is trying to get another jurisdiction to investigate the case.

“My grandfather didn’t do anything except go outside that day,” Hailey said.

@diakiw

Surrey North Delta Leader