A 23 year-old Dutchman who had made a bomb threat on May 4th at Ghent-St-Pierre train station was sentenced on Monday by the Ghent Criminal Court to eighteen months in prison, half of which will be served as a suspended sentence. The threat had brought all train traffic into and out of the station to a complete standstill. The man had made the threats by telephone and referred to the Charlie Hebdo attack. After being arrested he said that he merely wanted to play a practical joke.
The bomb threat had occurred at 9:00am on May 4th. The 100 switchboard received a call from a man claiming to have a bomb. He then referred to the attack on Charlie Hebdo. The authorities were quickly able to locate the suspect thanks to a trace on his mobile phone. Given that he was within the station vicinity, they took the decision immediately to evacuate and to stop trains into and out of the station.
The President of the court emphasised the seriousness of the incident and the defendant’s personality. “The fact that he maintained that it was merely intended as a practical joke is indicative of his state of mind,” commented Judge John Dangreau. “Photos of drugs and a sabre, as well as religious messages were found on his telephone. Psychologists say that the defendant exhibits antisocial personality traits and a lack of understanding.”
The defendant was sentenced to eighteen months in prison, half of which will be served as a suspended sentence, and a fine of 300 euros. He must also pay 1,300 euros in court costs.