Defence asks surgeon whether bullet may have ricocheted in Afghan shooting

Chris Shannon
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SYDNEY, N.S. - The defence for Cpl. Matthew Wilcox moved forward with its theory Tuesday that the bullet which hit and killed 25-year-old Cpl. Kevin Megeney possibly ricocheted off a metal object before striking the Canadian soldier while on deployment in Afghanistan.
Lt.-Col. Troy Sweet questioned trauma surgeon Dennis Filips, a retired army commander, who has ballistic training in relation to the human body.
It was the fourth day of what's expected to be a lengthy trial that will examine whether Wilcox carelessly fired a loaded nine-millimetre pistol at Megeney while playing a game of quick draw on March 6, 2007.
Wilcox, 23, of Glace Bay, is a member of the 2nd Battalion of the Nova Scotia Highlanders. He's charged with manslaughter, criminal negligence causing death and negligent performance of duty, in Megeney's death.
Filips testified under cross-examination that he initially looked at the small entry wound just below the right nipple to determine the track of the bullet and whether any major organs had been hit, moments after soldiers arrived that evening with Megeney on a stretcher.
Sweet asked if any attempt was made to examine the exit wound on the upper left shoulder blade near his armpit. Filips said Megeney remained on his back on the surgical table the entire time.
"You're not able to say whether that (bullet) entered Cpl. Megeney clean or not clean?" Sweet asked.
"No," replied Filips, who currently works as a trauma surgeon in Alberta.
The defence entered into evidence, with the consent of the prosecution, a photograph showing what appeared to be a piece of dented metal with multi-coloured parts to it.
Sweet wondered how Filips came to the conclusion Megeney was hit directly by the bullet only by examining the entry wound, but not the exit wound.
"With a reasonable level of certainty the entrance wound wasn't consistent with a ricochet," Filips said.
He added the entry wound was small and at a clean 90-degree angle. However, he also said if he conducted a forensic exam he'd have a better idea if it was a direct hit or not.
Filips does not have expertise in forensic science.

Geographic location: SYDNEY, Afghanistan, Glace Bay Alberta

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