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Judicial CP - April 1980

Corpun file 14130

Rand Daily Mail, Johannesburg, 24 April 1980

5 cuts for bomb scare joker

Pretoria Bureau

A STUDENT from a home where practical jokes were common was sentenced to five cuts for a bomb scare prank by a Pretoria Regional Magistrate yesterday.

cuttingHarry Richard Wilson, 20, of Main Vereeniging Road, Johannesburg, was found guilty of unlawfully communicating false information about a bomb scare. He pleaded not guilty.

On March 12 this year Wilson telephoned Klaradyn House, a Pretoria University women's residence, saying there was a bomb in the building and that it should be evacuated immediately. He made the call as a joke because few of the girls from the residence had turned up for a rag dance at a men's residence.

Mr Henry Wilson, the accused's father and a livestock auctioneer, told the court that the accused had been brought up in a home where there were a lot of practical jokes.

Lieutenant P le Roux of the Security Police told the court that if the public were subjected to repeated bomb scares, they would not take a genuine one seriously. He said there had been 488 bomb scares in South Africa between March 1979 and February 1980.

In passing sentence, the magistrate, Mr M C de Witt, said he had difficulty deciding between a prison term and corporal punishment.

The magistrate said the sentence should act as a deterrent to those considering bomb scares which could sow panic and even cause injury, but he wished to take into account Wilson's clean record and the adverse effect a prison term would have on him.

Mr T Schutte appeared for the State. Mr Louis Fourie of Johannesburg represented Wilson.

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