Charge with­drawn against man ac­cused of mak­ing death threat over car­bon tax

Calgary Herald - - CITY -

The Crown has with­drawn a charge against a man who was ac­cused of phon­ing the leg­is­la­ture of­fice of Al­berta En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Shannon Phillips and mak­ing a death threat over the province’s car­bon tax.

Michael En­right, 54, of Cam­rose was charged in April 2016 with one count of mak­ing a threat to cause death or bod­ily harm.

Court records show the Crown with­drew the charge on Feb. 13.

En­right said the charge was with­drawn af­ter the Crown’s main wit­ness and po­lice failed to come to court. He said he had re­fused pre-trial of­fers to plead guilty and pay a fine.

“Three times they came to me and wanted me to plead and kept low­er­ing the amount,” he said Mon­day. “I said, ‘No way,’ be­cause I didn’t do what they said I did.”

Phillips is not named in the charge doc­u­ment.

A mem­ber of her staff who took the call told po­lice that a man, who didn’t iden­tify him­self, said “he was go­ing to get his am­mu­ni­tion and gun and come here and shoot us all.”

Kather­ine Thomp­son, an Al­berta Jus­tice spokes­woman, said the charge was with­drawn af­ter the Crown re­viewed the ev­i­dence.

“The Crown pros­e­cu­tor’s in­ves­ti­ga­tions into this par­tic­u­lar case con­tin­ued to evolve af­ter the ini­tial de­ci­sion was made to lay charges against the ac­cused, and they con­tin­ued to eval­u­ate the ev­i­dence in light of the pros­e­cu­tion stan­dard of rea­son­able like­li­hood of con­vic­tion,” Thomp­son wrote in an email.

“The Crown de­ter­mined that this par­tic­u­lar case did not meet that stan­dard.”

En­right, who said he lost his oil prod­ucts sales job be­cause of the charge and spent about $7,500 for le­gal ser­vices, con­tends he wasn’t treated fairly by the gov­ern­ment.

He said he has no crim­i­nal record, doesn’t own a weapon or have a firearms per­mit.

In an in­ter­view with The Cana­dian Press last year, En­right said he called the min­is­ter’s of­fice to sound off af­ter he lis­tened to ra­dio host Danielle Smith, for­mer Op­po­si­tion Wil­drose leader, talk about the econ­omy and the coal in­dus­try.

He said he be­came up­set be­cause peo­ple he knew were los­ing their jobs.

“I didn’t mean to get up­set and I did not threaten any­body at all. All I said was that if they (the NDP gov­ern­ment) keep push­ing peo­ple, peo­ple are go­ing to get guns and they are go­ing to re­volt,” he said last year.

“I was talk­ing glob­ally, not specif­i­cally. I would never, never, ever threaten any­body.”

En­right said the months be­tween when he was charged and when the case was with­drawn were tough on his fam­ily.

The max­i­mum penalty for ut­ter­ing threats is five years in prison.

“It was ter­ri­ble. It put my wife and I un­der so much pres­sure, so much stress,” he said Mon­day.

“To do that is morally wrong. But I de­nounce any kind of vi­o­lence to­ward gov­ern­ment.

“We have ral­lies. We have ways to protest, but when you phone them and they do that to you, I think they are in the wrong.”

En­right said he has a new job and re­cently paid off his le­gal bills.

He sug­gested the gov­ern­ment should re­im­burse him and won­dered if he should file a law­suit.

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