Bomb threat sus­pect tes­ti­fies at her own trial

Dorothy Car­nell claims she didn’t call in threat against Dwight Ball in Pla­cen­tia

The Compass - - SPORTS - BY ANDREW ROBIN­SON TC ME­DIA CHAR­ITY edi­tor@cb­n­com­

While ad­mit­ting she was caught on video with her mouth to the re­ceiver of a pay­phone po­lice linked to a call threat­en­ing the safety of Dwight Ball, Dorothy Car­nell claims it wasn’t her that did it.

The 52-year-old tes­ti­fied at her own trial Thurs­day, Feb. 9, in Harbour Grace provin­cial court. She’s charged with ut­ter­ing threats to cause death to Ball, con­vey­ing false in­for­ma­tion by re­port­ing to po­lice there was a bomb, caus­ing pub­lic mis­chief, and ut­ter­ing threats to dam­age or de­stroy prop­erty.

In pre­vi­ous tes­ti­mony, Const. A. Mez­dour said he saw Car­nell that day out­side the Pla­cen­tia Mall, which was evac­u­ated af­ter RCMP dis­patch re­ceived a call at 1:36 p.m. on Nov. 14, 2015. Ball, now the pre­mier of New­found­land and Labrador, was cam­paign­ing with lo­cal Lib­eral can­di­date Sherry Gam­binWalsh prior to the fall elec­tion.

They even­tu­ally traced the call to a pay­phone near one of the mall en­trances. Ob­serv­ing se­cu­rity footage, Mez­dour saw two peo­ple use the phone that day — a man in the morn­ing and then a woman at around the time the call was re­ceived.

Ob­serv­ing se­cu­rity footage, Mez­dour rec­og­nized the woman’s cloth­ing as the same out­fit Car­nell was wear­ing that day. Pla­cen­tia RCMP ar­rested her that night, with Mez­dour ques­tion­ing Car­nell at the lo­cal de­tach­ment.

Tes­ti­fy­ing last Thurs­day, Car­nell was adamant it wasn’t her who con­tacted po­lice.

“I’m not that stupid to go up into a pub­lic build­ing where there’s sur­veil­lance cam­eras,” said Car­nell, adding she didn’t know who Dwight Ball was at the time.

Ac­cord­ing to her tes­ti­mony, Car­nell was at the mall twice that day. A taxi driver for a lo­cal cab com­pany, she first stopped in at a store to kill some time, then re­ceived a call to pick some­one up.

Car­nell re­turned to the mall about an hour later to visit a Christ­mas gift shop. That store was lo­cated next to Gam­binWalsh’s cam­paign head­quar- ters. She re­calls stand­ing close to Ball as some­one whis­pered a mes­sage in his ear, af­ter which he left the mall. She said it was at this point she went to the phone.

Car­nell said she held the re­ceiver for a cou­ple of min­utes as she pon­dered mak­ing a call of a per­sonal na­ture.

Un­der cross-ex­am­i­na­tion by Crown pros­e­cu­tor Natalie Payne, Car­nell was con­fronted with the fact she ini­tially told po­lice she didn’t use the pay­phone, then later said she made a per­sonal call on it. Car­nell told the court she very well could have made a call, not­ing she had taken med­i­ca­tion the night of her ar­rest.

“I have mem­ory lapses — it comes and goes,” she said.

When asked why she didn’t con­sider us­ing one of the two cell­phones she had at the time, Car­nell said she didn’t want the other per­son to know her num­ber. She re­fused to re­veal what the per­sonal mat­ter en­tailed.

In his clos­ing ar­gu­ment, de­fence lawyer Tim O’Brien said the po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion was in­com­plete, as no at­tempt was made to ob­tain a pro­duc­tion or­der from the phone com­pany. He also noted po­lice failed to fol­low up on a sec­ond sus­pect iden­ti­fied early in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Ac­knowl­edg­ing there were some in­con­sis­ten­cies in Car­nell’s tes­ti­mony, O’Brien high­lighted the fact she was adamant about not be­ing the per­son who con­tacted au­thor­i­ties.

Payne felt the only is­sue of note Car­nell raised was not mak­ing the call her­self. Oth­er­wise, the Crown pros­e­cu­tor said the ev­i­dence was over­whelm­ing in prov­ing be­yond a rea­son­able doubt the woman was guilty.

She char­ac­ter­ized Car­nell’s tes­ti­mony as “not be­liev­able” given the in­con­sis­ten­cies. Payne also con­sid­ered the po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion thor­ough in prov­ing her guilt.

Judge Bruce Short will ren­der his de­ci­sion at the Pla­cen­tia Court­house Wed­nes­day, Feb. 22, at 11 a.m.

“I’m not that stupid to go up into a pub­lic build­ing where there’s sur­veil­lance cam­eras.” — Dorothy Car­nell


Dorothy Car­nell at Harbour Grace Provin­cial Court.


The scene out­side the Pla­cen­tia Mall fol­low­ing its evac­u­a­tion on Nov. 14, 2015.

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