The fate of Gregory Stanley Nield is soon going to be in the hands of the jury.
Defence counsel Stan Tessmer closed his case on the afternoon of April 5. Nield faces one count of aggravated assault for the alleged attack of Dr. Rajeev Sheoran in 2014 at the Penticton Regional Hospital psych ward.
During the opening statment for the defence on April 5 Tessmer said what happened in the interview room between Nield and Dr. Sheoran on Dec. 5, 2014 is not in dispute.
“It’s not about whether Rajeev Sheoran took a beating, it’s more than that,” Tessmer told the jury. “This case is about what was going on in my client’s head.”
He told the jury the issue is whether or not Nield intended to assault Sheoran, and if he was justified in doing so.
“We don’t convict the morally innocent. This case, we know Dr. Sheoran came out of there beat up, there’s no issue about that. That’s not what this case is about. If that was it then there would be no point having a trial,” Tessmer said.
Nield’s parents take the stand
Both Shirley and Douglas Nield, Gregory’s parents, took the stand Wednesday, testifying to a slightly different version of the meeting they had with Dr. Sheoran the night before the alleged assault took place, Dec. 5, 2014.
Nield had made multiple frantic calls to his parents from the hospital prior to the incident. They testified Nield sounded frightened and worried. A meeting was eventually set up between Shirley, Douglas, Gregory and Dr. Sheoran.
Dr. Sheoran testified earlier there was a meeting, and the main topics discussed were Greg Nield’s concerns surrounding medications and treatment.
The Nields testified to a more detailed but differing account of the meeting. Shirley testified Dr. Sheoran was telling Nield “don’t worry, you need to take more medication, you need to take it for longer.”
“(Dr. Sheoran) was quite loud and projecting that he didn’t like being questioned on it,” Shirley said.
There was another point in the conversation both Shirley and Douglas Nield testified to, where they said Dr. Sheoran put up his fists and said he was good at boxing.
“Greg had asked him something and the statement the doctor said was ‘you’re good at what you do, I’m good at what I do. You’re good at Jiu Jitsu, I’m good at boxing.’ And when he did that the doctor was sitting right beside me. When he did that and said it, he went like this,” Shirley said, holding up two fists in front of her face imitating a boxer. “When he did that he leaned in towards me, past me, towards Greg.”
She said Gregory was lethargic, and had little reaction to what Dr. Sheoran had done.
Douglas Nield became emotional when testifying to his son’s mental state prior to the alleged assault. When he and his wife arrived for the meeting with Dr. Sheoran, Gregory was “zombie-like” dragging his feet and barely acknowledging his father as he passed by.
Douglas also testified that Dr. Sheoran said he was a boxer, and the doctor’s recommendation was more medication, more often for a longer period of time, two or three weeks, noting Gregory would get worse before he got better.
“The whole meeting was quite aggressive, I was shocked,” Douglas testified. “I thought you should talk to a mental patient with calm. There was no calm. It was aggressive.”
Const. Jarret Cottrell testified earlier Wednesday to Nield’s behavior during and after the arrest. He said he observed Nield walking around in circles holding what looked like an ice pack on his hand in the psych ward.
“He appeared to really seem … like he didn’t really know what had happened, what was going on. He was just there,” Cottrell said.
Cottrell said Nield exhibited other odd behaviors, continually introducing himself to officers, at one point during the arrest asking to use Cottrell’s cell phone. Nield would also hum in a monotone to answer Cottrell’s questions.
Another nurse on duty during the assault testified Wednesday as well. Lenora Kukkonen said she was never interviewed by police or anyone else regarding the incident. She attended to Dr. Sheoran with fellow nurse Nicole Reichenbach.
She said Nield refused his medication the evening before the incident, but after talking to a fellow patient in a similar situation apologized and agreed to take them.
She was on the phone the next day when a nurse said “Dr. Sheoran has been attacked.”
“I went into the interview room. Dr. Sheoran was leaning against the wall, unconcious with blood pouring out of his face,” Kukkonen said. “His face was all swollen, his eye was swollen, he had blood pouring out of his mouth. He opened his eyes and he was dazed.”
The defence closed their case Wednesday afternoon, with the jury expected to recieve instructions Thursday prior to their deliberations.