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Saskatoon man found not criminally responsible for email containing bomb threat

11/19/2014 08:04 EST | Updated 01/19/2015 05:59 EST
SASKATOON - A Saskatoon man has been found not criminally responsible for a bomb threat that caused a building to be evacuated.

Timothy Steven Harris, who is 46, was charged with uttering threats and took the stand as the only witness in his trial Wednesday.

According a an agreed statement of facts, the subject line of the email said there was a bomb in the Social Services building and this was not a threat, but a promise.

More than 100 employees were evacuated while police searched the building for the non-existent bomb.

Harris testified he had no intention of harming anyone, saying he was referring to himself as the bomb and the building as a representation of frustrations with Social Services.

Singer ruled that Harris fit the criteria of being incapable of appreciating the nature of his action because he suffers from schizophrenia.

Harris testified that he was not on medication when the email was sent and believes his mental illness could have played a role in misrepresenting what he meant to convey.

He said he became frustrated with the agency after emailing to see why he hadn’t received a reminder about his annual review. After emailing a second time, he said he received a response from a social worker stating that he would receive a letter by the end of the next month.

The letter never came, Harris said, and his emails received no replies. He told the court it was a deliberate attempt to induce his schizophrenic symptoms in order to justify a prior issue Harris had with a government policy. The threatening email stemmed from the lack of correspondence.

“I was afraid for my life,” he said, referring to the looming possibility of having to live on the street. During cross-examination, Harris mentioned being cut off from his benefits, and the Crown said he had an issue with the amount of assistance payments he was receiving.

Harris told the court that he was homeless for two years after losing his job as a land surveyor in Manitoba. He had previously lived in Saskatoon after being given an honourable discharge from the army in 1990.

The Saskatchewan Review Board will determine whether Harris will be held in custody, live in the community under conditions or be granted an absolute discharge.

Crown prosecutor Jennifer Claxton-Viczko argued that Harris should have to abide by certain conditions in order to ensure public safety. Defence lawyer Jane Basinski is asking for an absolute discharge, arguing that her client has not breached his current release conditions and has no criminal record.

(CKOM)

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