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Man charged with threatening to shoot prime minister on trial in Nipawin

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NIPAWIN — The Nipawin man accused of threatening to shoot Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and threatening to blow up Parliament told RCMP officers that he had been referring to taking a shot with his fist, or that he meant to “poke (Trudeau) in the nose.”David Petersen, 53, said he had no recollection of making comments about blowing up Parliament.Petersen is on trial in Nipawin provincial court over comments he made on the phone to a Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) employee on Feb. 12. He was in court Wednesday and his trial is expected to resume on Tuesday.He has pleaded not guilty.On Wednesday, court heard from Paul Sveinson, the CRA employee who spoke with Petersen that day.Story continues belowThis advertisement has not loaded yet,but your article continues below.Sveinson, who testified by closed circuit television from Winnipeg, said he “spoke quite a bit” with Petersen, who often seemed tired and depressed during phone calls. However, Sveinson said Petersen seemed more depressed and upset than normal on Feb. 12.“It sounded quite desperate. The magnitude of this depression had escalated quite a bit from previous conversations,” Sveinson said. “He was saying that he wanted this to end. He felt like a dog that was backed in a corner.”None of their previous conversations had included any political statements, so Sveinson said he was surprised when Petersen asked for his opinion on the Prime MinisterPetersen then said he “would like to take a shot at Trudeau” and stated “I don’t want to be the guy that goes and blows up Parliament.”According to Sveinson, Petersen said he “felt like lashing out.”When questioned by Crown prosecutor Lori O’Conner, Sveinson said he “was concerned that Mr. Petersen would commit suicide.”Sveinson said he had taken a one-day training course about suicide as part of his job and took steps to ask Petersen if he was okay and if he was talking to anyone about his stress and depression.“I was concerned for him. I was concerned for his well-being and I didn’t want to end the conversation like that,” Sveinson said. “I wanted to make sure he was okay.”Sveinson reported the conversation to his supervisor, who called the RCMP.Petersen was interviewed by a member of the Saskatchewan RCMP National Enforcement Section, which provides security to VIPs such as the Prime Minister. Petersen said he’d meant that he wanted to take a shot with his fist or poke the prime minister in the nose. He said he didn’t remember making comments about blowing up Parliament.Court heard a recording of Petersen telling RCMP Constable Tanner Gillies about the stress he was under and that, in his job as a building inspector, he was asked to inspect the home of a man who was suffering frostbite to his fingers and toes and was facing amputation.When the recording got to a point where Petersen told Gillies he recalled seeing blood on the doorknob, Petersen became visibly upset and tried to leave the courtroom, saying he could not continue.Petersen is representing himself in court. He told Judge Hugh Harradence that he would like to testify in his own defence.Related Nipawin man accused of threatening prime minister pleads not guilty read more