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Bomb Threat Empties Family Court
October 18, 2007 permalink
Family court in Orangeville was emptied on Wednesday (Oct 17) by a bomb threat. No word on who called in the threat. Was it an unhappy parent? Or maybe a social worker needing to keep a child for a few more days?
Orangeville Citizen, October 18, 2007
Bomb threat empties courthouse for 4 hours
By LAVINIA KERR Staff Reporter
A bomb threat led to the evacuation of the Dufferin County courthouse Wednesday, with staff of the county and the Ontario Superior and provincial courts left standing outside the building for nearly four hours.
When the evacuation order came, at about 9:30 a.m., everyone in the building on Zina Street was ordered to leave immediately and muster in the Elizabeth Street parking lot.
Everyone contacted, including Crown Attorney Mary Ellen Cullen, said they were forbidden to speak to the press, including even to say who had given that direction. Even a simple question such as "how many courts were in session?" was answered with a "no comment". A court clerk refused to confirm whether her court had been in session, which normally begins at 9 a.m.
Constable Al Buck, spokesperson for Dufferin OPP detachment, showed up for a scheduled 10 a.m. court case and did confirm that it was a bomb threat they were dealing with, but found himself waiting outside with the crowd.
Scott Davis, media relations officer for Orangeville Police, said police had no reason to believe the bomb threat was real but no chances were being taken.
Two hours after the evacuation, local police were still waiting for the arrival of the OPP's bomb disposal unit and eventually the streets in the vicinity of the courthouse were blocked to traffic.
An unspecified number of prisoners awaiting a court appearance were transported to the Orangeville Police station lock up.
It appeared the all-clear had been given by about 1:30 p.m., when the roadblocks were removed, and by then the crowd had dispersed.
All court cases were cancelled for the day and court was to resume at 8:30 a.m., today (Thursday).
No other details about the bomb threat were available at press time.
Source: Orangeville Citizen
Addendum: Police have arrested Tracy Ellen Booth for the false bomb threat, without disclosing any facts, such as a motive.
Arrest made in bomb threat Arrest made in bomb threat
Friday October 26 2007
An Orangeville woman faces four charges after allegedly threatening to "blow up" the courthouse last week. The suspect was arrested Tuesday -- six days after the threat was received.
"It's a rare occurrence in our community. Hopefully this puts it to rest for now," Orangeville Police Service acting-chief Mike Robinson says of the bomb threat. "It was basically a voice identification made by members of our service that led us to the suspect."
"I'm glad to hear that," Dufferin County warden John Oosterhof remarked when told of the arrest.
The courthouse and attached Dufferin County office were evacuated at about 9:30 a.m. Oct. 17, after a bomb threat was called in to the police station. Roads around the building were blocked off and four explosives-sniffing canine units were brought in to check the building.
No harmful materials were found and the building was declared safe for reentry shortly after 1 p.m., though county officials decided to keep it closed for the remainder of the day.
"It was basically a wasted day.... It ruined the day," Oosterhof says, suggesting it was also an expensive day because of lost productivity and wages that had to be paid. "It had quite an impact on the county, as well as on the judicial system."
Matters slated for court that day were rescheduled in front of a justice of the peace in an Elizabeth Street parking lot across from the courthouse. County business also had to be shuffled to alternative days.
"The threat was a hoax," notes Davis, who declined to comment on a motive. "We don't want to go into the evidence."
The suspect was arrested at about 3 p.m., when an unmarked police cruiser pulled over the van she was driving at the intersection of Mill and Little York streets. Police took the woman into custody without incident and transported her to the police station in a regular cruiser.
Tracy Ellen Booth, 36, is charged with mischief, pubic mischief, conveying a false message and failing to comply with a court order. She was held in custody until Wednesday afternoon, at which time the courts released her on bail.
Source: Orangeville Banner