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Bomb threat prankster fined $1 million

The 25-year-old truck driver who uploaded a video on social media saying that there was a bomb at a gas station in Ocho Rios, St Ann, was on Thursday fined $1 million or nine months' imprisonment for using a computer for malicious communication.

It was a very repentant Chevon Flowers who appeared in the St Catherine Parish Court, and he clasped his hands over his head while Senior Parish Court Judge Desiree Alleyne handed down the sentence. Flowers' attorney-at-Law, Maesha Wilson-Campbell, in her submission, sought mitigation on her client's behalf.

"Your Honour, he is indigent and just cannot afford that sum. I know that it is serious, but it was only a prank and he had no malicious intent. He has no previous conviction and was very remorseful for his action," Wilson-Campbell said. The lawyer said that since her client was taken into custody on June 5, his child was born.

Alleyne told the lawyer that it was a serious offence for which her client was charged. The judge also told the court that expressing remorse for his action allows for a reduction in sentencing. She said that the accused could have been fined and given a mandatory sentence, however, his cooperation has helped his cause.

The judge said that she was not minded to change the sentence, as the prank caused losses of $21.9 million to businesses at the Eight Rivers Plaza in Ocho Rios.

The judge admonished and discharged Flowers on the charge of creating public mischief, which she said was the same as malicious communication. The Crown also made a no order to the charge of extortion.

Allegations are that on June 3, Flowers uploaded a video on social media, causing a security scare in Ocho Rios. He also demanded $20 million to deactivate the bomb. The police got wind of the video and, following investigations, Flowers was taken into custody.

He was subsequently charged with creating public mischief, using a computer for malicious communications and extortion.

During his court appearance on June 13, he pleaded guilty to using a computer for malicious communications and creating public mischief. He pleaded not guilty to extortion.