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Woman appeals robbery conviction
Karma Eeyeevadluk was told it was too late to change her mind about taking the stand on her own behalf

John McFadden
Northern News Services
Friday, August 18, 2017

A Yellowknife woman has been granted bail while she appeals her conviction for robbery in connection with the February 2015 mugging of an Aurora Taxi cab driver.

Karma Eeyeevadluk, 21, was freed from custody by Supreme Court judge Andrew Mahar on Monday. Her father and five-year-old son were in the courtroom when she was granted bail.

Eeyeevadluk had been in jail since Feb. 2, serving a 12-month sentence. She was sentenced by Supreme Court judge Shannon Smallwood in February to 20 months in jail, less eight months for the time she served in pre-trial custody.

According to court documents, Eeyeevadluk is appealing her conviction on the basis that her lawyer, Tu Pham, mistakenly told her it was too late to change her mind about testifying in her own defense. Initially, she told Pham she didn't want to take the stand, but changed her mind before the jury started deliberating.

Eeyeevadluk was convicted of reaching into a cab driver's top pocket and stealing $50 from him while two brothers - Denecho King and Bradley King - assaulted him. Both King brothers were convicted of assault causing bodily harm. Denecho King was sentenced to 12 months in jail for his role in the attack while Bradley King received a four-month sentence.

In the affidavit, filed by Eeyeevadluk in March, she denies stealing from the cab driver and states she only reached back into the taxi cab to retrieve her purse. Pham made that contention during the trial but it was refuted by the cab driver.

No date has been set to hear Eeyeevadluk's case in the NWT Court of Appeal. She is now being represented by Edmonton lawyer Steven Fix.

Mahar ruled she must abide by conditions while she is out on bail including a 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. curfew. She must reside at her father's home and can not possess any weapons.

The victim in the taxi attack, Mahamud Matar Mahamed, 48, is now himself charged with assault causing bodily harm. He was charged in late July after a man said he was attacked in a dispute over a fare. Mahamed is scheduled to be in court on Sept. 19.

Meanwhile, Denecho King is facing murder and attempted murder charges after two men were attacked and left for dead in a Yellowknife apartment on Dec. 5, 2014, less than three months before the cab assault. John Wifladt was pronounced dead in hospital after being found badly wounded in an apartment belonging to his friend Colin Digness, who was also hurt in the attack.

Denecho King made headlines about a year ago, when he scaled the roof and escaped from the North Slave Correctional Centre, spurring a three-day manhunt.

He was captured Aug. 13 at his mother's home on Sissons Court. He received 18 months in jail for the escape. King is next scheduled to be back in court on Oct. 23.

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