PHILIPSBURG–A 29-year-old man found guilty of involvement in making a bomb threat to Princess Juliana International Airport related to JetBlue flight B677 from Boston on May 27, 2017, was sentenced to eight months suspended, on two years’ probation. The defendant will also have to do 240 hours of community service and pay a NAf. 4,500-fine, the Court of First Instance ruled Wednesday.
Krystopher Jerome Carty was also found guilty of the illegal possession of a machete, which he carried on the public road outside the entrance to Dr. A.C. Wathey Cruise and Cargo Facilities in Pointe Blanche on October 9, 2018.
The bomb scare caused quite a commotion in May last year. Roads leading to the airport were closed by authorities and emergency personnel were immediately dispatched to the airport.
The aircraft was isolated at the eastern part of the airport near the causeway roundabout. Passengers were taken off the plane and taken to a secure holding area where they were screened, and the aircraft was also searched. Because the airport was closed for several hours, flights had to be diverted.
Carty, who was held in pre-trial detention for 37 days, confessed that he was involved in the scheme, which he described as a “bad joke.” He told the Court on Wednesday he had wanted to go to a beach party together with a friend, who worked at JetBlue. Together, they had devised the plan to make a bomb threat, as this would make it impossible for his friend to work and would give him a day off.
Carty, however, denied that he had made the call to 911, stating that he had given instructions to a Spanish-speaking person named José who had placed the call for him. He told the Court the man came from the Dominican Republic and had left the island after Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
Even though detectives had recognized the defendant’s voice as the one that was heard during the call, he denied he had a Spanish accent. “I cannot speak Spanish,” he said.
“Why all this trouble to go to a beach party?” the Judge wanted to know. “I did not think of the consequences. All I wanted was a bit of fun,” the defendant said in response. “It was a stupid joke. It was very dumb of me,” he said.
Carty, who is a part-time “gypsy” taxi driver and landscaper, confessed to carrying a machete during an altercation at the port entrance. The incident with another taxi driver was caught on video-surveillance cameras, but the defendant denied he had swung the weapon at his adversary.
The Prosecutor, who called for an eight-month prison sentence, said that Carty’s role in the bomb scare was evident. She said the reason for the threat, which had caused a lot of panic with the police, the judiciary and the airport, was “absurd.”
The Prosecutor did not find the primary charge of threatening with a terrorist attack proven but found the defendant guilty of making a false bomb threat in cooperation with another person.
She also considered illegal weapon possession proven, as it is not allowed to carry a cutlass on the public road.
Attorney-at-law Shaira Bommel pleaded for a milder sentence. The lawyer said it could not be proven that her client had placed the call and said he had the machete in his car because he is a landscaper. “My client wants to pay for his stupidity, but he does not want to do jailtime,” she said.
After a 15-minute recess, the Judge said he agreed with the Prosecutor’s opinion in this case. The Judge said Carty had made the bomb threat in cooperation with another person. He also found the possession of a machete proven.
The Judge said he found eight months “quite a mild” demand considering the gravity of the case, which he described as “a really bad joke.”
However, in sentencing, the Court also took into consideration the long duration of the proceedings, as well as the fact that the defendant has a job and is providing for his family.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/82200-suspended-sentence-fine-for-jetblue-bomb-threat