Woman's legal quagmire clearing
A retired Mountie from Calgary has gone to bat for a Blackfalds woman who says she is trapped in a legal quagmire after surviving a vicious beating almost 20 years ago.
Kimberley Nicholson, now 47, moved to West Edmonton from Lethbridge in the fall of 1994 after separating from her husband. Nicholson left their children with him while she searched for a place of her own, planning to reunite with them once she had settled.
Those plans took a horrifying turn in December of that year when an unidentified man broke into her apartment. Nicholson told Edmonton police that he spent the next half hour raping her, burning her with lit cigarettes and cutting her with a knife.
She suffered extensive emotional and physical injuries that have been treated but she says never healed.
Police suspected at the time that the same man who attacked Nicholson was responsible for other, similar incidents. No charges were ever laid.
“I’m a cold case,” Nicholson told the Advocate.
She claims she was in psychiatric care when her husband had her sign papers giving him custody of their two daughters.
Those documents committed her to pay support for both children until the youngest reached 18, even though she says she was in hospital at the time and was unable to work for years afterward.
Nicholson has struggled to cope with a maintenance enforcement order that she says virtually prohibits her from work because her driver’s licence has been seized and she has been unable to acquire any other form of government identification.
“I’m a painter. I need to drive,” said Nicholson, who was recently ticketed for driving without a licence.
Calgary paralegal Emmerson Brando, whose 25 years with the RCMP include service in the commercial crime section, has agreed to help Nicholson for free.
He says his first order of business will be to have the maintenance enforcement order overturned so she can get her driver’s licence back.
“This is a travesty that’s happened,” Brando said from his Calgary office.
“This young woman was a victim, where she was coerced into signing off her parental rights ... while she was struggling with depression. She was under psychiatric care.”
Emmerson said he will make an application in Calgary Court of Queen’s Bench this week to set aside the judgment against his client, who was unaware that such an option is available.
“The court needs to know that she did this under duress. It’s nothing but trial by ambush, what she went through,” he said.
He will also seek to stay proceedings on the traffic tickets, pending the outcome of his application to overturn the maintenance enforcement order and restore her driving privileges.
Nicholson said she has also made an appointment to speak with Red Deer North MLA Mary-Anne Jablonski about her legal issues and hopes also to speak with Wildrose MLA Rod Fox, who represents the Blackfalds area.