A Vancouver woman charged for hurling coffee and racial slurs at an Asian Canadian coffee shop manager last year entered trial on Thursday.
Astrid Maria Secreve, a co-defendant in the mischief case with her ex-husband Michel Jean-Jacque Berthiaume, made headlines this April after being filmed using an anti-Asian slur on her way to a court in Richmond.
At the time, Secreve allegedly lashed out at a CTV News crew that included a camera operator of Asian descent. The video of the encounter shows her using an anti-Chinese slur, flashing her clothed backside and swearing before entering the courthouse.
Secreve and Berthiaume are both charged with mischief under 5,000 Canadian dollars (approximately $3,963) for the attack at Rocanini Coffee Roasters in the Steveston neighborhood, which occurred on March 29, 2021.
The incident began after the pair allegedly ignored the shop’s COVID-19 guidelines. The manager, identified only as Nikki, asked them to change seats.
However, the duo allegedly refused and retaliated against Nikki. Berthiaume poured his mocha on the floor, while Secreve threw a cup of coffee at the manager, according to reports.
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“I was shocked, standing over here, when the lady passed by me [and] she poured the leftover [coffee on] my face and said something like, ‘F*ck you, Chinese,’ those kinds of things,” Nikki said after the attack.
While fleeing the scene, Berthiaume was also allegedly heard saying “f*cking Chinese” twice and claiming that Nikki was carrying COVID-19.
Secreve and Berthiaume returned to court on Thursday after the trial was adjourned in April. They have been representing themselves in the case.
Meanwhile, over a dozen protesters reportedly gathered outside the courthouse. They carried signs that said “End Racism,” “Hate is a Virus” and “Racism is a Virus.”
Ally Wang, a spokesperson of the Stop Anti-Asian Hate Crimes Advocacy Group, also accused Secreve of giving her “the finger” back in April. When she told police, Secreve allegedly put her hand down at once.
“An Asian reporter from another media outlet told me that Secreve gave her the finger. I couldn't believe it happened in [the courthouse]. I said, 'How is that possible?'" Wang told the Richmond News. “But when I went inside after 10 minutes or so, she gave me the finger as well.”