UPDATED: Accused Kootenay armed robber denied bail

The co-accused in a series of armed robberies in Nelson and Castlegar will not be released.

The co-accused in a series of armed robberies in Nelson and Castlegar has been denied bail.

Andrew Stevenson, 34, appeared in Nelson court in person for the first time Tuesday since his arrest April 25. His previous appearances have all been by video from jail. He was injured being taken into custody and is still using crutches. He wore a gray striped golf shirt and blue pants.

However, Judge Ron Fabbro recused himself because he previously heard search warrant applications in the case and as a result said he didn’t feel comfortable issuing further rulings.

He explained that he was returning to the bench after a three-month leave and didn’t realize that the matter would be before him.

“I have been involved in issuing a number of search warrants in the matter, some time before I went on leave in June,” he said. “Having heard the material put before me in support of the search warrants, it would not be appropriate for me to hear the bail application.”

Fabbro apologized to the lawyers in the case and said he would have notified them sooner had he realized it would come before him.

Stevenson faces 21 charges stemming from hold-ups at the Kootenay Currency Exchange in which a shot was fired, Nelson and District Credit Union, Kootenay Savings in Castlegar, and Johnny’s Grocery in Robson, plus two break-ins at Castlegar pharmacies in March and April.

Among other counts, he is accused of possession of a restricted weapon, pointing a firearm, possession of stolen property over $5,000, and fleeing police.

Stevenson, who has yet to enter a plea, said nothing in court. His bail hearing was put over to Wednesday in Castlegar, where his request for release was refused.

His co-accused, Krista Kalmikoff, has been released on bail. Her lawyer has indicated that she intends to plead not guilty and elect trial by judge and jury.

Stevenson and Kalmikoff were both arrested the day of the Nelson credit union robbery. They have not been charged in robberies at the Kootenay Savings in Salmo and Shoppers Simply Pharmacy in Castlegar.

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