Skip to main content

A 22-year-old transient woman, freed on bail after being charged with murder in the downtown stabbing death of a St. Catharines man in August, is back behind bars, accused of aggravated assault in an unrelated incident that allegedly occurred a few weeks earlier.

Ross Hammond, 32, was fatally stabbed on Aug. 8 after an altercation with a group of four young people who were apparently panhandling. Of the four people arrested and charged, Nicole Kish is the only one accused of murder.

With her re-arrest, all four are now being held. Two are awaiting court appearances on charges of aggravated assault, while the third has pleaded guilty to obstructing and assaulting police and is serving a two-month jail term, after which she will likely be deported. Ms. Kish is the sole Canadian charged in connection with Mr. Hammond's death - the other three are American.

Arrested Wednesday night at the Stoney Creek residence of her grandmother, where she has been staying since her release last month on $165,000 bail and rigorous conditions, Ms. Kish appeared briefly in court yesterday for a bail hearing that was adjourned until today.

Clad in jeans and a red hooded T-shirt, Ms. Kish appeared subdued and said little beyond acknowledging her name.

Bail hearings are subject to publication bans, but police information filed with the court alleges that, in the early hours of July 20, an unidentified 55-year-old woman walking near the intersection of Queen Street and Spadina Avenue sought to pat Ms. Kish's dog.

The woman was warned not to, but did so again, police allege, prompting Ms. Kish to shout: "I told you to get out of here," and begin pushing and kicking the woman, who was taken to hospital and operated on for a collapsed lung.

Although Ms. Kish had secured bail on a charge of second-degree murder, a significantly more serious charge than aggravated assault, prosecutors are expected to resist efforts by defence lawyer John Scarfe to restore her freedom.

Outside of court yesterday, Mr. Scarfe said he wants to know why police waited until after Ms. Kish had been charged in Mr. Hammond's death, and her identity publicized in the media, to ask the victim in this case to identify her.

"If an allegation like this is raised, why does it take two-and-a-half, almost three months in order to put a lineup in front of this lady to see if she can recognize her?"

The Crown thesis is that the fresh allegations against Ms. Kish have created a higher risk than could have been apparent to Superior Court Justice Ian Nordheimer when he granted bail.

Outside court, Detective Constable Chris Hominuk of 52 Division said the woman has mostly recovered from the alleged beating.

"She's fine now, she's up and about," he said.

Asked why close to three months elapsed before the aggravated-assault charge was laid, Det. Constable Hominuk said the delay stemmed from difficulties in contacting the alleged victim and the fact that there was no immediate reason to connect the incident with the death of Mr. Hammond.