FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – A Fort St. John man has been sentenced to time served and eight months probation for making a drunken bomb threat against Energeticity.ca and Moose FM last month.
Philip Testawitch, 33, pleaded guilty Wednesday to uttering threats. He must also write a court-ordered apology letter and has been banned from contacting the company and its employees.
Court heard Testawitch left a voicemail threatening to pipe bomb the station on January 29th if they did not cover the ongoing Freedom Convoy rallies and demonstrations taking place locally and in Ottawa.
“You better start displaying and sharing truck convoy news or I’m going to pipe bomb your f*****g building,” said Testawitch in the voicemail.
Police responded immediately and secured the business, and utilized the Peace Liard RCMP Police Dog Services Unit to clear the building for any explosives.
Testawitch used his cellphone to make the call, which appeared on call display and which RCMP traced to the Motor Inn where he was living. Testawitch was arrested, and after a search of his room by a sniffer dog no explosive substances or devices were found.
Court heard that Testawitch had been drinking heavily that day and was highly intoxicated when he made the call. Though he identified his voice when the message was played back to him, he was so impaired he could not remember making the call, court heard.
Court heard Testawitch was not involved in the convoy rallies. He told police he didn’t know anything about bombs, and that the incident was embarrassing and out of character.
Defence lawyer Sigrid Thompson said Testawitch typically stays out of politics, but made a bad decision after being swept up in the convoy movement, which has seen strong local support, and the media coverage it has received.
“It’s been a real hot topic in our area, and unfortunately, Mr. Testawitch, who is normally quite apolitical, got caught up in what I can describe… was a bit of frenzy, and made a very poor choice,” Thompson said.
Judge David Patterson strongly emphasized Gladue factors in his sentencing. Testawitch is a member of both the Whitefish and Tahltan First Nations, and court heard he has struggled with addictions and substance abuse since his early teens, and suffering systemic abuses and a troubled home life.
Testawitch has been in custody since the offence, and was credited for 39 days time served.
Crown prosecutor Declan Brennan had sought additional jail time and a term between 90 to 120 days. Patterson, however, dismissed the recommendation and said the purpose of the eight-month probation order was to give Testawitch a chance to get his life in order, including securing housing, pursuing education, and reconnecting with his First Nations background.
Testawitch has also been prohibited from possessing firearms for one year, and a second charge of intimidation by threatening violence against him was dropped.
Testawitch made no comment after his plea and being sentenced by the court.
The owner of Energeticcity.ca and Moose FM released a statement on the threat that can be read here.
With files from Energeticcity.ca
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