Accused Nelson robber elects jury trial

The woman accused in the armed robberies of two Nelson financial institutions has elected trial by jury.

The woman accused in the armed robberies of two Nelson financial institutions has pled not guilty and elected trial by Supreme Court judge and jury.

Krista Kalmikoff, 25, appeared in court in Nelson today, where her lawyer Blair Suffredine told Judge Richard Hewson she will waive a preliminary hearing and wants a trial “as soon as possible.” A date may be set on June 23.

Kalmikoff’s co-accused, Andrew Stevenson, 33, appeared by video conference from jail in Kamloops. He was on crutches and wore a purple shirt and matching pants. He has not yet entered a plea and has consented to remaining in custody at least until July 2. His lawyer Ken Wyllie said he is still awaiting disclosure from the Crown.

Both are charged in the April hold-ups of the Kootenay Currency Exchange, in which a shot was fired, and the Nelson and District Credit Union a week later. They are also charged in two break and enters at pharmacies in Castlegar on April 18.

Neither spoke during their court appearances today. Kalmikoff’s family members sat in the public gallery.

Police have forwarded additional charge recommendations in other robberies dating back to last November to Crown counsel for approval. However, it’s unclear if the pair would stand trial on all charges at the same time or in multiple trials.

Stevenson faces 15 charges including robbery, possession of stolen property over $5,000, discharging a firearm, and fleeing police. Kalmikoff, who is co-accused on ten counts, has been released on $40,000 bail.

The two were arrested on April 25 following the robbery at the credit union in Nelson. Stevenson was injured when, according to police, he jumped over a bridge railing and fell 30 or 40 feet (9 to 12 m) while trying to avoid arrest. The incident is under review by the Independent Investigations Office of BC, which looks into police-related incidents that result in death or serious injury.

Stevenson and Kalmikoff are also suspects in the robberies of Kootenay Savings Credit Union in Castlegar on March 11, Johnny’s Groceries and Gas in Robson on March 7, Kootenay Savings in Salmo on February 24, and Shoppers Simply Pharmacy in Castlegar on November 13.

Woman gets 21 days for attacking police officer

A woman who lunged at and scratched a Nelson police officer last month while being arrested has pled guilty to assault and been jailed an additional three weeks on top of time she is serving for drug trafficking.

Heather Coupland, 33, admitted to the charge today. Court heard that she was in custody at the Nelson police station and “became irate” when an officer informed her she was being arrested on additional charges.

She had a previous conviction for assaulting a peace officer and was also on probation at the time. On May 28, she was sentenced to two years in prison for trafficking morphine.

The Crown called for an additional 30 days to be served consecutively to her present sentence, while her lawyer asked that that it be served concurrently. Judge Richard Hewson opted for 21 days to be served consecutively.

Appearing by video, Coupland apologized for her actions. She returns to court August 11 to stand trial on other federal charges.

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