Woman accused in alleged racist incident hurls racial slur outside Richmond courthouse

Richmond, BC-

A Richmond couple allegedly involved in a racist incident at a Steveston coffee shop was in court Friday.

Before co-accused Astrid Maria Secreve went into the court room, she spewed a racial slur at a CTV News Vancouver cameraman, who’s of Asian descent.

“Don’t touch me,” she could be heard saying on camera, using an expletive followed by a slur for a person of Chinese heritage.

Secret and Michel Jean-Jacque Berthiaume have been charged with mischief under $5,000 over the incident at Rocanini Coffee Roasters in the city’s Steveston neighborhood.

It happened March 29, 2021, when two customers arrived and ignored the coffee shop’s COVID-19 protocols and then became agitated when they were asked to sit at a different table.

Surveillance video captured drinks being poured on the floor and then an object being thrown as the couple left the business.

At the time, the employee told CTV News that the drink was poured on her face and body and a racial slur was hurled at her.

At another court hearing in July 2021, Berthiaume confronted anti-racism protesters and could be heard openly shouting anti-Chinese sentiments.

“I prefer to have English or French or German than to have Chinese in this country,” he said. “This is Canada and we have free speech. If we don’t like Chinese, we can say it. And I don’t like Chinese – and I say it.”

Anti-racism protesters were back outside the courtroom Friday as they called for justice.

“We hope they can get educated from the result, from the judgment, whatever the judgment is,” said Ally Wong with Stop Anti-Asian Hate.

But protesters will have to wait a little while longer. The trial was added and a new one is being scheduled.

In court, Berthiaume repeatedly told the judge his ex-wife has dementia, which she denied.

He also refused to accept any of the disclosure materials from Crown.

They are scheduled to return to court on Sept. fifteen.

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