‘I just don’t like Dwight Ball’: bomb threat caller
RCMP place Dorothy Carnell at payphone in Placentia Mall
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.
Dorothy Joan Carnell enters the courtroom at Harbour Grace Provincial Court on Thursday, Sept. 8.