June 22nd, 2024

No lawyer yet for woman charged in Holiday Inn fire

By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on March 7, 2023.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A 33-year-old woman accused of starting a fire at a city hotel late last month still hasn’t retained a lawyer, even though her case has already been in court three times.

Kerissa Rikki Plume was in Lethbridge provincial court Monday where duty counsel lawyer Jeremy DeBow explained the accused needs more time to hire a lawyer.

DeBow requested an adjournment for one week – which the Judge granted – to allow Plume time to contact Legal Aid and have a lawyer appointed for her.

Plume’s case was in court last Thursday but she was unable to attend because she was in the hospital. Duty counsel represented her then, as well, and told court she was expected to remain in the hospital through the weekend.

During Monday’s hearing, however, she appeared in court by CCTV from the Lethbridge Correctional Centre.

Plume is charged with one count of arson causing damage to property, one count of arson to property with reckless disregard to whether the property is occupied, and three counts of failing to comply with release conditions.

Police charged Plume following a fire at about 1 a.m. Feb. 24 at the Holiday Inn in the 2300 block of Mayor Magrath Drive South. Lethbridge Fire and Emergency Services was called to a fire in a room on the third floor of the hotel, and a woman, who was the lone occupant of the room, was taken to hospital.

Crews contained the fire to the single room and while no one else was injured, a number of hotel occupants were “displaced” because of smoke and water damage.

Police reported that the building was significantly damaged by the sprinkler system, and damages were estimated to be about $1 million. An investigator determined the fire was caused by “improper disposal of smoking materials.”

A warrant was issued for Plume’s arrest after she left the hospital later in the day, but she was subsequently apprehended.

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