Woman con­sid­ered ‘mas­ter­mind’ be­hind Mount Pearl, N.L., rob­bery

Anne Kelly gets four-year jail term

The Telegram (St. John’s) - - LOCAL - BY ROSIE MULLLEY rosie.mul­la­ley@thetele­gram.com

She didn’t have her face cov­ered and didn’t carry a weapon.

In fact, Anne Kelly wasn’t even in­side Shop­pers Drug Mart on Com­mon­wealth Av­enue in Mount Pearl when it was held up on the evening of New Year’s Eve, 2016.

But the 40-year-old played just as big a part — if not more — in the armed rob­bery as did the two masked men who held a knife to a phar­ma­cist and took off with cash and thou­sands of pre­scrip­tion pills of drugs that in­cluded fen­tanyl, a pro­vin­cial court judge in St. John’s con­cluded Thurs­day.

As a re­sult, Judge Jim Walsh sen­tenced Kelly to four years in jail. With eight months’ credit for time al­ready served af­ter her ar­rest, she has 40 months left on her term.

Kelly hung her head and cried as she was hand­cuffed and led out of the court­room to the hold­ing cells by a sher­iff’s of­fi­cer.

Kelly, who was con­victed of one count of armed rob­bery and sev­eral counts of pos­sess­ing stolen prop­erty, was one of four peo­ple ar­rested in con­nec­tion with the in­ci­dent. Jonathan Hur­ley, Ja­son Gosse and Christo­pher Hod­dinott were also taken into cus­tody.

Hur­ley and Gosse have al­ready been sen­tenced, with each re­ceiv­ing be­tween 4 ½and 5 ½-year prison terms last month. Hod­dinott’s case has not yet con­cluded.

While Hur­ley and Gosse car­ried out the holdup at the phar­macy with a knife while hav­ing their face masked, Kelly was con­sid­ered by many to be the mas­ter­mind be­hind the rob­bery —she chose the day, helped plan it with Hod­dinott, went in­side and scoped out the store be­fore­hand to find out the num­ber of staff on duty and pro­cured the trans­porta­tion.

Po­lice ar­rested the group min­utes af­ter the rob­bery at a home nearby, where of­fi­cers found cash and thou­sands of pills and vials.

In all, the seizure in­cluded 1,075 codeine tablets, 923 tablets and 95 vials of mor­phine, 1,665 pills and 10 vials of hy­dro­mor­phone, 2,153 Oxy­codone pills, 32 fen­tanyl patches, 187 Methadone pills and 1,459 Methylphenidate pills.

Const. David Em­ber­ley of the RNC/RCMP Com­bined Forces Spe­cial En­force­ment Unit, had told the court it was largest seizure of pre­scrip­tion drugs he had ever seen.

Dr. Lisa Bishop of Me­mo­rial Univer­sity’s School of Phar­macy tes­ti­fied to the dan­gers of such drugs, not­ing fen­tanyl is 50 to 100 times more po­tent than hero­ine.

Dur­ing the sen­tenc­ing hear­ing, Kelly’s lawyer Karen Reiner had sug­gested a jail term of less than two years, point­ing out that Kelly suf­fered a se­ri­ous drug ad­dic­tion and felt re­morse­ful for what she did.

Pro­vin­cial Crown pros­e­cu­tor Richard De­veau and fed­eral pros­e­cu­tor Neil Smith had con­curred that only dif­fer­ence be­tween Kelly and the men who car­ried out the rob­bery was that Kelly had a shorter crim­i­nal record, which in­cluded mostly thefts and court breaches.

Walsh agreed, stress­ing the dan­gers of such drugs to the pub­lic and the af­fects rob­beries have on busi­nesses in the com­mu­nity.

“The fact that she didn’t carry a knife or have her face masked doesn’t re­ally stand to help her in his case,” said Walsh, who noted that the large num­bers of pills were not just for per­sonal use and were des­tined for the com­mu­nity.

“While ‘mas­ter­mind’ is a hy­per­bole…, she planned the en­tire event … With­out the plan­ning by Miss Kelly, there would not have been any rob­bery.”

ROSIE MUL­LA­LEY/THE TELEGRAM

Anne Kelly (left) pre­pares to be hand­cuffed and led out of the court­room in pro­vin­cial court in St. John’s Thurs­day af­ter she was sen­tenced to four years in jail for armed rob­bery at a Shop­pers Drug Mart in Mount Pearl two years ago.

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