Dorothy Carnell guilty of calling in bomb threat against Dwight Ball
She was caught on video holding to her ear the receiver of a payphone that police determined a bomb threat against the eventual premier of Newfoundland and Labrador originated from.
But Dorothy Joan Carnell said it wasn’t her that threatened the life of Dwight Ball.
Provincial court Judge Bruce Short disagreed. Last Wednesday at the Placentia courthouse, Short found the 53-year-old guilty on all charges — 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.
On Nov. 14, 2015, Ball was campaigning with local Liberal candidate Sherry Gambin-Walsh at the Placentia Mall. Police were forced to evacuate the mall after a call was received indicating there was a bomb. It proved to be a false alarm.
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.
Placentia RCMP reviewed surveillance footage showing a woman at a payphone inside the mall police linked to the call. She held the receiver up to her ear for approximately four minutes. The time and length of the call matched the video footage.
Carnell, a taxi driver who lives in Placentia, testified during the trial she was the woman in the video, initially indicating she didn’t make a call and was merely considering making one that would have been personal in nature.
During cross-examination, Carnell said she may have in fact made the call, and admitted it was possible she could have called police, but didn’t know why she might have done so.
Short noted there was nothing to suggest there was any sort of malfunction that could have caused the phone call to come from a phone other than the one at the mall. On the possibility it wasn’t Carnell who made the call, the judge said he could not accept her evidence. He questioned why she would stand next to the payphone while holding the receiver to her ear for several minutes without making a call.
“It makes no logical sense,” Short said. Acknowledging the Crown’s case relied on circumstantial evidence, the judge found it was overwhelming enough to prove the fact Carnell made the call.
Carnell, who is not in custody, will return to the Placentia courthouse April 26, where lawyers for the case will outline sentencing options. Defence lawyer Tim O’Brien requested to have a pre-sentencing report prepared.
A provincial court judge has found Dorothy Carnell guilty on all charges in connection with a bomb threat made against Dwight Ball while he was campaigning in Placentia.