PRH assault trial kicks off

After an alleged vicious assault on a Penticton doctor, Gregory Nield calmly told nurses he thought the victim was dead, according to testimony from a psychiatric nurse.

The trial for Nield, charged with aggravated assault on Dr. Rajeev Sheoran, kicked off Monday morning, starting with testimony from Nicole Reichenbach, who was near the interview room where the assault allegedly occurred.

In response to questioning from Crown prosecutor Sarah Firestone, Reichenbach testified that when Sheoran arrived at the psychiatric ward, Nield asked to speak to him, and the two retreated to an interview room.

Shortly after, Reichenbach heard several loud bangs, but nursing staff couldn't tell where they were coming from. Nield then emerged from the room, holding his hand as if it were in pain. Reichenbach added that his hand was red, as if it had swollen up.

"I think he's dead," Nield calmly told nurses at the time, Reichenbach testified on Monday.

At that point, she lost track of Nield, as codes white and blue were called – codes for an aggressive patient and serious concern of Sheoran’s health.

Sheoran reportedly suffered a broken jaw, among other injuries, but due to the amount of blood coming from his face, Reichenbach said his injuries were mostly obscured, aside from a slightly protruding eye.

Reichenbach says when she saw Nield again, he was carrying around a pool cue from the hospital’s games area as if he were about to play a game, though she couldn't recall whether he did actually begin playing pool or not. Reichenbach told defence attorney Stan Tessmer she didn't report the odd behaviour to police because she was in shock.

She did, however, tell police that Nield had been asking people for hugs after the incident.

Justice Hope Hyslop struck down questions by Tessmer intended for Reichenbach several times, with Hyslop becoming visibly irritated at one point.

Tessmer then moved on to questioning Reichenbach on processes in the hospital, including whether Nield was upset while she had been his treating nurse during his stint at the hospital.

Reichenbach told the court that Nield was anxious and frustrated while she was treating him, because he didn't want to be in the hospital.

In a recently filed civil claim, Nield claimed that Sheoran falsified documents to hold him against his will for an additional 48-hours, provoking the attack.

The trial is expected to run for 10 days.

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