Crown makes case against Nipawin man accused of threatening Trudeau

NIPAWIN — The Crown has presented its case against a Nipawin man accused of threatening the Prime Minister and blowing up Parliament over a phone call.

David Petersen allegedly made the threats to a Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) employee over the phone on Feb. 12. The 53-year-old was arrested by the RCMP and charged with uttering threats on Feb. 27. Petersen pled not guilty in court on April 24.

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In Nipawin Provincial Court on Sept. 4, Crown prosecutor Lori O’Connor began her case with testimony from Paul Sveinson, who was the CRA employee talking to Petersen over the phone on Feb. 12. Sveinson appeared via a video link from Winnipeg.

Sveinson was a collections contact officer at the time of the call and had been working on Petersen’s case.

Before the call in question, Sveinson said they had been in contact about 10 times starting in October 2018. He said initially the calls would be outbound but then Petersen would have the opportunity to call him back by a certain time.

Sveinson told the court that on Feb. 12 when Petersen phoned him, the accused seemed “particularly distraught”.

Sveinson stated that Petersen asked him about his thoughts on Trudeau, before following that up by saying he would like to “take a shot” at the Prime Minister.

“His exact words were, ‘between you and me, I would like to take a shot at Trudeau.’ Those were his exact words,” Sveinson said.

“Specifically about Parliament his exact words were, ‘I don’t want to be the guy that goes and blows up Parliament.’”

Sveinson said he reported the call to his supervisor.

The contents of the call were then reported to the Nipawin RCMP, who began an investigation.

O’Connor also presented the testimonies of three RCMP officers to the court, as well as a video of the testimony Petersen gave to the RCMP after he was arrested.

In the video, Petersen stated that he never intended for the “shot at Trudeau” to mean with a gun. When Petersen was asked to explain what he meant by “shot,” Petersen stated that, “I would punch him”.

Petersen told RCMP in the video that, “I expressed something to the effect of, ‘I can do it’, ‘I can take the shot’, or ‘I can take the shot at him.’” 

He then proceeded to explain he had no intention of shooting the Prime Minister because he believes that with Trudeau as the Liberal Party leader, the party stands less of a chance of reelection.

Petersen would later add he would not shoot the Prime Minister due to his own belief in the value of human life.

The trial has been adjourned to a later date to allow Petersen to present his side of the case. Petersen has chosen to represent himself.

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