‘I just don’t like Dwight Ball’: bomb threat caller

RCMP place Dorothy Car­nell at pay­phone in Pla­cen­tia Mall

The Compass - - NEWS - BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON ed­i­tor@cb­n­com­pass.ca

Po­lice used video footage from mul­ti­ple sources to place Dorothy Car­nell at the Pla­cen­tia Mall the day it was evac­u­ated in re­sponse to a bomb threat. One of those cam­eras cap­tured her on the phone where the call al­legedly came from.

Car­nell, 52, is charged with ut­ter­ing threats to cause death to Dwight Ball, con­vey­ing false in­for­ma­tion by re­port­ing to po­lice there was a bomb, caus­ing pub­lic mis­chief, and ut­ter­ing threats to dam­age or de­stroy prop­erty. The Pla­cen­tia res­i­dent was present Thurs­day in Har­bour Grace Pro­vin­cial Court for the start of her trial, two days af­ter she failed to ap­pear for it.

Ball was sched­uled to min­gle with lo­cal Lib­eral can­di­date Sherry Gam­bin-Walsh and other sup­port­ers Nov. 14, 2015, but his cam­paign team cut the visit short af­ter po­lice in­formed his se­cu­rity de­tail about the threat. Car­nell was ar­rested the same day and pleaded not guilty in June.

Ac­cord­ing Const. A. Mez­dour, who viewed footage of the Bell Aliant pay­phone lo­cated near one of the mall’s en­trances, only two peo­ple used the phone all day. A man made the other call ap­prox­i­mately three-and-a-half hours ear­lier.

The whole thing started when RCMP dis­patch re­ceived a call at 1:36 p.m. The call was later traced to a Bell Aliant pay­phone. Crown lawyer Natalie Payne played a record­ing of the call in court.

The caller, who sounds like a woman, said she was aware of a bomb at the mall, later ad­mit­ting she placed it. The woman said she was not in Pla­cen­tia, had placed it there an hour ear­lier, and was pre­pared to ac­ti­vate it in 10-15 min­utes through a cell­phone.

When asked why she did it, the caller told the RCMP dis­patcher, “I just don’t like Dwight Ball,” adding she was aware of his sched­uled visit.

First on the scene

Mez­dour was the first per­son on the scene shortly be­fore 2 p.m. and ini­ti­ated an evac­u­a­tion, es­ti­mat­ing ap­prox­i­mately 200 peo­ple were there at the time.

He can re­call Car­nell be­ing amongst the peo­ple who con­fronted him out­side later ask­ing what was go­ing on. Mez­dour said this was noth­ing out of the or­di­nary for Car­nell, as he rec­og­nized her from other in­ci­dents, stat­ing she was the sort of per­son who gen­er­ally seemed to be cu­ri­ous about what po­lice were up to.

They ini­tially thought the pay­phone was in Fresh­wa­ter, but in­for­ma­tion re­layed later in the af­ter­noon con­firmed the num­ber at­tached to the call came from a Bell Aliant pay- phone. A se­cond pay­phone ob­served had faded num­bers on it, but Mez­dour said when an RCMP col­league in­serted some change and called his own cell­phone, the same num­ber showed up as the one linked to the call re­ceived by RCMP dis­patch. The re­ceiver was col­lected as ev­i­dence, but a foren­sic anal­y­sis of­fered no clues.

Mez­dour watched se­cu­rity footage and saw a woman walk into the mall at what’s be­lieved to be 1:33 p.m. — he said the time stamp was an hour ahead of real time, hav­ing no­ticed the time on the live feed when he first ar­rived in the room where the equip­ment was set up.

In the video, the woman walks to the phone and stays there for sev­eral min­utes be­fore end­ing the call.

Mez­dour and an­other of­fi­cer ar­rested Car­nell that evening. At the time of her ar­rest, she was wear­ing the same black leg­gings with flo­ral pat­terns as the woman in the video. In her cau­tion state­ment, Car­nell ad­mit­ted to be­ing at the mall and us­ing the phone, but didn’t call po­lice. When asked whom she called, Car­nell said it was per­sonal and none of po­lice’s business.

Asked to ex­plain how a num­ber tied to that phone would show up call­ing the RCMP at the same time she claims not to have called po­lice, Car­nell couldn’t of­fer an ex­pla­na­tion.

In cross-ex­am­i­na­tion, Car­nell’s lawyer Tim O’Brien asked Mez­dour whether at­tempts were made to match the voice on the call to the one heard in her cau­tion state­ment. The of­fi­cer said no, adding he be­lieved Car­nell at­tempted to mask her voice.

He also con­firmed in cros­sex­am­i­na­tion po­lice did not re­quest a pro­duc­tion or­der from Bell for the pay­phone, stat­ing he was sat­is­fied it would not pro­vide ad­di­tional ev­i­dence given the in­for­ma­tion po­lice al­ready had.

Mez­dour men­tioned there was ini­tially a se­cond sus­pect. In cross-ex­am­i­na­tion, he said Car­nell was ul­ti­mately sin­gled­out through video ev­i­dence.

Car­nell’s trial con­tin­ues Jan. 9, 2017.

AN­DREW ROBIN­SON/TC ME­DIA

Dorothy Joan Car­nell en­ters the court­room at Har­bour Grace Pro­vin­cial Court on Thurs­day, Sept. 8.

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