Saturday 21 April 2018

Hoax bomb caller was 'profoundly stupid' says judge

A Balbriggan man who caused chaos after making a hoax bomb call to Intel has been given 200 hours community service at Dublin Criminal Court where the sentencing judge labelled the 21-year-old 'profoundly stupid'.

A 21-year-old Balbriggan man who made hoax bomb calls that caused chaos as the bomb scare shut down a motorway, disrupted air traffic control and stopped 4,000 Intel staff going to work, has escaped jail but must carry out 200 hours community service.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that Colin Hammond (21) had been drinking and taking tablets with a friend who paid him €30 to make the hoax calls, because Hammond's friend did not want to go to work at Intel in Leixlip the following morning.

Hammond of Bath Road, Balbriggan, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to making a false report giving rise to apprehension for the safety of persons or property, at Bath Road on January 13, 2015. The Balbriggan man has no previous convictions, the court heard.

Described in court by Judge Martin Nolan as 'profoundly stupid', Hammond made two 999 calls claiming there were bombs located at Intel which would go off in 12 hours. 'You will not find them. This is a warning, we're everywhere now,' Hammond told emergency services, the court heard. When asked who was making the call, Hammond told the emergency services: 'Islamic State'.

Judge Nolan ordered the Balbriggan man to complete 200 hours of community service within 12 months, in lieu of two years in jail.

Gda McFadden revealed that a month after the hoax, a taxi man arrived at Balbriggan Garda Station with a passenger who wouldn't pay his fare. The passenger was Hammond and a garda at the station recognised his voice from the hoax call.

Hammond admitted he had made the call on his friend's behalf saying: 'He hates work and I made a phone call so he wouldn't have to go to work.'

Gda McFadden told Mr Cooney that at a 'conservative estimate', the incident lost Intel 6,000 hours of production. The garda agreed with John Costello BL, defending, that his client made the calls from a public phone about 50 yards from his family home.

He also agreed that Hammond had entered an early plea to the offence.

Mr Costello submitted to Judge Nolan that his client had not been the brains of the operation and did not have any substance abuse problems. He asked the judge to be as lenient as possible as Hammond was 'gullible and open to suggestion'. Judge Nolan commented that 'every day presents a new surprise in this court'. He said: 'I thought I've heard very asinine tales but this (case) surprises even this court. 'He's demonstrated he's profoundly stupid with his behaviour, that's the only thing he's done.'

Fingal Independent