Nova Scotia

N.S. soldier guilty of shooting death

A court martial judge has found a former Canadian soldier guilty of two charges in the 2007 shooting death of a fellow reservist in Afghanistan.

Wilcox killed friend in 2007 Afghanistan incident

Former Cpl. Matthew Wilcox, of Glace Bay, is escorted at his first court martial on charges of shooting another Nova Scotia soldier. (Andrew Vaughan/CP)

A court martial judge has found a former Canadian soldier guilty of two charges in the 2007 shooting death of a fellow reservist in Afghanistan.

Military spokeswoman Capt. Colette Brake says Matthew Wilcox was found guilty Wednesday of criminal negligence causing death and negligent performance of a military duty.

A lawyer for Wilcox had told the court martial that his client fired his weapon in self-defence as he reacted to what he thought was a threat.

The shot fired by the Glace Bay, N.S., man killed his friend, 25-year-old Cpl. Kevin Megeney of Stellarton, N.S. Megeney died in his tent on March 6, 2007, at the Kandahar Airfield in what the military described as an accidental shooting resulting from a game of quick draw.

Victim's family speaks about loss

Brake said proceedings will continue Thursday with the sentencing hearing, including victim impact statements from Megeney's parents and other family members. Sentencing is expected Friday or Saturday.

The victim's sister, Lisa Dawn Megeney, broke down in tears as she told the court she was devastated by her "baby brother's" death.

"It changed my life drastically," she said, sitting metres away from Wilcox. "I'm not the same person."

She said she suffers from depression and has missed work, and as a result has also suffered financially. Megeney said her father Dexter has become withdrawn and cries often.

The victim's uncle, George Megeney, said he still regrets a parting conversation just before his nephew left for Afghanistan.

"The last conversation I had I gave him advice: 'When you go to Afghanistan, put your trust in commanders and fellow soldiers. Trust no one else,"' he said. "That conversation has haunted me."

First verdict thrown out

It was the second court martial for Wilcox, 26. He was sentenced to four years in prison and ejected from the military after he was found guilty of the two offences following the first court martial in 2009.

That verdict was set aside last year and a new trial ordered after Wilcox's lawyers argued the makeup of the military jury was unfair.

The panel had four members instead of the usual five because one was excused due to a conflict with work.

The second court martial started in April. An additional charge of manslaughter was dropped.

With files from CBC

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