Man threatens to blow up Casino pub after he's kicked out
MAKING a hoax bomb threat because you've been kicked out of the pub on Anzac Day might seem like an over-reaction.
But that's what Casino man Shane David Watts did on the afternoon of April 25 this year.
The 53-year-old had been at Casino's Commercial Hotel for a schooner of beer and a game of two-up shortly after 2pm.
But his behaviour led staff to eject him from the establishment.
According to court documents, Watts was captured on Richmond Valley Council CCTV cameras strolling the streets after he was kicked out of the pub.
He went to another hotel, had a drink, and continued wandering the streets, approaching pay phones and the Commercial Hotel several times.
He phoned Triple 0 from a payphone on the corner of Canterbury and Walker Sts at 3.35pm and told the operator: "I'm doing a bomb threat".
Watts told the operator he was upset that he'd been kicked out of the pub, so he went home, and retrieved a "bomb" which he'd placed at the hotel he felt had wronged him.
He claimed the bomb was set to detonate at 3.48pm, then hung up and walked home.
There was no bomb, but Casino Local Court heard there could have been a risk to public safety in that Watts' actions consumed significant emergency service resources.
When Watts faced court for sentencing on Thursday, his solicitor, Natasha Wood, said his actions were those of "stupidity", born from a feeling of frustration, and noted there was "nothing of a similar nature on his record".
The court heard "numerous" Richmond Police District units attended, along with Police Rescue and the bomb squad.
Paramedics and Fire and Rescue crews were on standby.
According to court documents, Watts was later arrested by police at his home and while he initially denied any involvement with the incident, he ultimately pleaded guilty.
"It's certainly accepted that this is a particularly serious offence in that there were resources that were effectively taken away from ordinary duties to deal with this," Ms Wood said.
Ms Wood asked Magistrate Kathy Crittenden to consider imposing a community corrections order with a community service condition.
Ms Crittenden stressed the charge Watts had pleaded guilty to, giving false information of people or property being in danger, could attract up to five years' prison in a higher court.
She said frustration was "absolutely no excuse" for the incident.
"It's a very serious offence," she said.
"There's an enormous cost to the community.
"Stupidity doesn't really cover the nature of your conduct on that day.
"Sometimes catastrophic things happen and you could have diverted valuable services that are there for the protection of people's lives."
The court heard Watts was seeking help for mental illness, which Ms Crittenden found was a contributing factor.
He received an 18 month community correction order and 200 hours community service.