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Former student sentenced for calling in bomb threat to Kamloops school

Colby Adamson pleaded guilty to a number of charges in Kamloops provincial court

  • Dec. 3, 2019 2:37 p.m.

An 18-year old former Kamloops student with a number of mental-health and behavioural issues will spend another 10 days in prison after calling in a bomb threat to Sa-Hali secondary in September.

Colby Adamson pleaded guilty to a number of charges in Kamloops provincial court on Monday, expressing remorse for his actions while fighting back tears.

Justice Stella Frame sentenced Adamson to 115 days in jail, but after factoring in the past 70 days he has spent in pre-trial custody at Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre — calculated at 1.5 days for every day served — he was credited with 105 days, leaving a little more than a week left on his sentence.

Frame handed Adamson an 80-day sentence for calling in the threat, 30 days for threats of violence he made about a month before that incident to security guards at Lansdowne Village and five days for breaching bail conditions.

READ MORE: Bomb threats, gunfire, kidnapping: Drug war rocks Kamloops

Crown prosecutor Samantha Behling detailed the circumstances of the Sept. 20 bomb threat, stating a call was received at Sa-Hali secondary at about 8 a.m. from a male with a deep voice who said, “There’s going to be a bomb in the next 30 hours.”

The call was reported to principal Rachael Sdoutz and Kamloops Mounties responded, who asked her to lock all doors except the main entrance.

“She was also advised to have staff members stationed at the main entrance to check all the individuals that were coming in to the school,” Behling said.

Officers advised that soccer and volleyball games scheduled for that weekend at the school be cancelled and relocated due to the threat. Police then tracked the phone number of the call to an address on Tranquille Road on the North Shore, where they spoke with the owner of the phone.

When officers questioned the man, he said he often let his friend, Adamson, use his phone as Adamson didn’t have one. He also said Adamson had been at his apartment the previous night and they had each done a hit of acid. The next morning, he said, Adamson told him before leaving that he was going to be in trouble as he had called in a bomb threat using the phone.

Behling said the phone’s call history showed a call was made to Sa-Hali secondary at 7:58 a.m. on the morning of Sept. 20. Police then called Sdoutz, who told officers school staff had also identified a possible suspect, who they also identified as Adamson.

“Mrs. Sdoutz stated that students had overheard Mr. Adamson on the bus in the morning bragging about how he had called in a bomb threat,” Behling told the court.

READ MORE: Police probe third threat against a Kamloops high school in eight days

Adamson was arrested that afternoon by police.

The Crown called for a sentence of 157 days in jail — 120 days for the bomb threat, 30 days for threatening the security guards and seven days for the breach.

Defence lawyer Jeanine Ball asked for time served, stressing Adamson is a young adult offender with limited mental capacity as factors that need to be taken into account in sentencing.

Ball said Adamson committed the offences within a month after his 18th birthday, struggles with a number of mental-health and behavioural issues and has been identified as having an IQ of 56.

She also noted this was Adamson’s first time in custody — during which he has been at the maximum-security Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre.

“And that’s been quite an overwhelming experience,” Ball said.

She detailed an account from a correctional officer who had checked in on Adamson in his cell on one occasion.

“During the whole conversation, he [Adamson] sat in the middle of his bed, crying. He was hugging his knees, rocking back and forth. He stated that all he wants is to leave, he wants to get out, he wants to see his dad. Jail was scary. He’s learned his lesson. He feels stupid for what he did,” Ball said.

Ball said Adamson is not currently attending school, but was a student at the Twin Rivers Education Centre in the past and intends to return.

Frame described the bomb threat as a serious offence that required a significant sentence, but wasn’t satisfied the Crown’s request of four months was appropriate.

“You’re an adult, you’re responsible for your actions,” Frame told Adamson, noting he frightened people and forced staff to lock down the school and treat its students like criminals.

“There’s no greater threat you can make against a community than to harm its children,” Frame said.

There were seven bomb threats made against School District 73 schools in September — four of which were in the form of graffiti scrawled on school buildings. Of the seven threats, three were made against Sa-Hali secondary.

At the time, school district officials said they were considering installing cameras and other measures to address the rash of threats.

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