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Closing arguments in Nelson spitting case scheduled for this month

A Nelson judge will hear closing arguments June 23 in the trial of a man accused of spitting at a employee of the Adventure Hotel. 

Judge Rob Brown could decide Jeremy Undershute’s fate after defense and Crown counsel make their final remarks. 

Undershute is accused of spitting at Rhonda Comeau in November 2020 after he entered Empire Coffee. His trial, which began in February, continued Monday. 

Court heard testimony from Comeau, Nelson Police officer Drew Hildred and Shauna Fidler, a bystander the day of the incident. 

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Crown counsel Kevin Schecter asked Fidler to recount what she witnessed  

Fidler said when she entered the coffee shop that morning, she noticed two people talking outside the business. 

She described the pair as a man and a younger woman who seemed to be on a first-name basis. Later in her testimony she identified the man as Undershute. 

She said Undershute was speaking loudly but not aggressively about COVID19 protocols in place at that time. She said shortly after she saw him outside he entered the coffee shop with his mask on. 

Fidler then recounted the incident inside the coffee shop. She testified that while she was waiting for her order, she witnessed an argument break out between Undershute and Comeau. 

She testified the altercation resulted in Undershute turning to leave the establishment, stopping in the doorway, turning around, lowering his mask and spitting towards Comeau.  

Fidler also stated that from her view only a few feet away, she saw the spit hit the ground near Comeau’s feet, contradicting Comeau’s claim that the spit hit her directly. 

Fidler said at that point Comeau was frantically yelling for someone to call the police, before chasing him down the street while on the phone with 9-1-1 to report the incident.  

Police arrested Undershute nearby shortly after receiving the call.  

Following Fidler’s testimony arresting officer Drew Hildred was called to the stand by defense lawyer Don White. 

White asked Hildred numerous questions regarding how he gathered evidence the day of the alleged assault. 

Hildred testified that following Undershute’s arrest he went to Comeau’s office behind Empire Coffee to gather security camera footage and get a statement.  

Hildred stated that when he arrived at Comeau’s office he did not watch or gather security camera footage the day of the incident. He stated that in past interactions with Comeau regarding incidents at the Adventure Hotel she always promptly supplied required footage and statements to the police department. 

In this case however, shortly after the alleged assault Comeau suffered a heart attack preventing her from sending all the footage to the police. This resulted in the loss of a second security camera video, which would have provided a different view of the assault. The Crown is not trying to establish a direct link between the incident and the heart attack. 

It was also revealed in court that Hildred did not take any handwritten notes on the day of the incident and that he didn’t personally take a statement from the victim. Instead he received one written by Comeau a few days after.  

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