HIGH IN­TER­EST EX­PRESSED IN FATE OF CALGARY BANK ROB­BER

Calgary Sun - - NEWS - KEVIN MARTIN kmartin@postmedia.com @KMart­inCourts

Mo­ments after sen­tenc­ing a Calgary man to 51/2 years in prison, a city judge took the un­prece­dented step Tues­day of ask­ing the bank rob­ber to come see him once his time is served.

Jus­tice David Gates told Saleem Nasery he couldn’t or­der him to pro­vide an up­date on where his life is, but would like to hear from him.

“When you fin­ish your sen­tence, I’d like you to come see me,” the Court of Queen’s Bench judge said. “I’d like to know how you are do­ing.”

Gates also praised Nasery for the progress he’s made since tak­ing part in a dar­ing bank heist us­ing in­side in­for­ma­tion pro­vided by his then-girl­friend, Kenza Be­lakziz, who was a se­nior teller at a Bank of Mon­treal branch on 4 St. S.W.

Wear­ing dis­guises, Nasery and two other men en­tered the branch late in the af­ter­noon of Nov. 26, 2014, one armed with a hand­gun, and con­fined fright­ened staff with zip ties.

Gates agreed with Crown pros­e­cu­tor Vicki Faulkner and de­fence lawyer Pat Fa­gan that an ap­pro­pri­ate sen­tence for Nasery, 24, would be six years.

The only is­sue for the judge to de­cide was how much credit, if any, Nasery should be given for the more than 13 months he spent un­der house ar­rest be­fore his re­lease con­di­tions were re­laxed.

Falkner ar­gued Nasery should get no credit, while Fa­gan said the to­tal sen­tence should be re­duced by that pe­riod. Gates agreed some credit was war­ranted, drop­ping four months off the to­tal term for the house ar­rest, plus an­other two months for the time he spent be­hind bars be­fore be­ing granted bail.

The judge said he was im­pressed with Nasery’s ef­forts to im­prove him­self while await­ing trial.

Nasery even­tu­ally pleaded guilty to charges of armed rob­bery, un­law­ful con­fine­ment and wear­ing a dis­guise while com­mit­ting an of­fence.

While on bail, Nasery com­pleted a Bach­e­lor of Arts de­gree in eco­nom­ics at the U of C.

“Mr. Nasery, sen­tenc­ing you was one of the most painful things I’ve ever had to do,” Gates said.

“You are a man of great prom­ise, great po­ten­tial. You demon­strated that by go­ing to univer­sity while you were sub­ject to house ar­rest,” he said. “It speaks vol­umes to me about the kind of man you are.”

And the judge im­plored Nasery not to let this one in­ci­dent de­fine his life.

“I hope that you will use (this time) wisely,” Gates said. “I ex­pect you will.”

Lu­cas Wind­sor and Matthew Valdes were ear­lier each given the equiv­a­lent of 51/2 year sen­tences, while Be­lakziz, who pleaded guilty to con­spir­acy to com­mit rob­bery, is still await­ing her fate.

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