The Coroner’s Inquest into the death of Jeff Berg resumed on Monday, August 9, 2004 after an adjournment of several weeks. Prior to its resumption, the family made an application to the Supreme Court of British Columbia for funding assistance from the provincial government. Mr. Justice Shabbits has reserved judgment on the application.

On August 9, 2004, a use of force expert (Cst. Kelly Keith of the Victoria Police Department) testified that if the incident occurred as the civilian eyewitnesses testified it did, then Cst. Bruce-Thomas used excessive force and committed a criminal act.

Later that day, forensic pathologist Dr. Laurel Gray testified that Berg’s three principal facial injuries were consistent with kicks being inflicted, likely while he was unconscious on the ground. She testified that the fatal injury was a blow to Berg’s neck, likely caused by a punch, open hand or a kick. Her autopsy report, which was not allowed into evidence by the Coroner, listed multiple traumatic injuries to Berg’s head, neck, torso and extremities.

Cst. Bruce-Thomas, the other participant in the “altercation”, earlier testified that he was not injured in any way – no scratches, bruises, etc.

On Tuesday, August 10, 2004, the Inquest heard from one of the other occupants of the vehicle stopped by Cst. Bruce-Thomas. Stephen Morrison testified that he saw an officer strike Berg from behind with an overhand blow, causing him to collapse to the ground. At the conclusion of his testimony, the jury foreman started to ask a question but was interrupted by Coroner’s counsel John Bethel, prompting an angry outburst from the juror and an adjournment of the hearing.

On Wednesday, August 11, Berg family lawyer Cameron Ward left the hearing with the approval of his clients, citing the untenable and unfair nature of a system that provided no funding for the deceased’s family’s legal representation. Julie Berg will represent the family until the Inquest concludes, probably by Friday.

The Inquest continues.