Francis Rattenbury designed the Nelson courthouse

Preliminary hearing for accused Kootenay robbers months away

The couple accused of robbing several local financial institutions will likely have a preliminary hearing early in 2015.

The couple accused of robbing several local financial institutions will likely have a preliminary hearing early in 2015.

Andrew Stevenson, 34, appeared in Nelson provincial court today by videolink from jail, once again using crutches that he threw off in an escape attempt on September 15. Stevenson fled as a deputy sheriff led him in to the courthouse, but was quickly captured a few blocks away. A new count of escaping custody has been laid against him, bringing the number of charges he faces to 22.

Stevenson consented to remaining in custody until October 28 when a date will be fixed for a preliminary hearing, which Crown counsellor Sunday Patola expected would take three days and likely occur sometime between January and March.

Stevenson’s co-accused Krista Kalmikoff, 26, who has been released on bail, returns to court the same day. Her lawyer has indicated she intends to plead not guilty and elect trial by judge and jury.

Stevenson is accused of holding up the Kootenay Currency Exchange in Nelson, in which a shot was fired, as well as the Nelson and District Credit Union, Kootenay Savings in Castlegar, and Johnny’s Grocery in Robson in March and April, plus two break-ins at Castlegar pharmacies.

He faces charges including robbery, possession of a restricted weapon, pointing a firearm, and possession of stolen property over $5,000.

Kalmikoff is accused in the Nelson robberies and Castlegar break-ins.

Stevenson and Kalmikoff were both arrested April 25, the day of the Nelson credit union hold-up. Stevenson was injured when he jumped off a bridge while being pursued by police.

BC’s Independent Investigations Office, which looks into police-related incidents involving death or serious injury, was brought in to review the arrest. Kellie Kirkpatrick with the office said the report is done but waiting on a final piece of evidence.

“I expect that once the chief civilian director can review the report with the additional pieces completed, it should not be too long [before a decision is made],” she said.

The director can send the file back for further investigation, forward it to Crown counsel to consider charges, or conclude an officer did not commit an offence and release a public report.

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