Man sentenced to probation after Fort St. John bomb scare

A man arrested after a bomb scare at Totem Mall in Fort St. John last fall has been sentenced.

Court records show Benjamin Kelvin Neil was sentenced to 18 months probation and given a five-year firearms ban for a charge of common nuisance on February 4.

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Neil was arrested in the mall's parking lot shortly after 12 p.m. on Oct. 29, 2018, after he allegedly told a mall security guard twice that he was carrying a bomb intended for the Winners store.

Officers discovered that Neil was only carrying food, water, and hunting knife in his duffel bag, but say he was behaving erratically, talking to himself, and slow to follow orders when they arrived. At one point, he yelled at officers to shoot him, court was told. In a statement to police, Neil said he was only joking.

Neil was wanted on an arrest warrant at the time of the incident, for a charge of uttering threats to cause death or bodily harm toward a police officer after he was found sleeping in his car in McLeod Lake in May.

Neil was given an 18-month probation order, ordered to provide a DNA sample, and handed a five-year discretionary firearms ban on that charge.

Neil's lawyers weren't immediately available for comment on Monday.

At a bail hearing last fall, Neil told the court that he was not a threat, grew up in a good Christian family, and was well known in the community and active with a local mountain biking club.

A judge at the time denied Neil's release citing public safety.

Email Managing Editor Matt Preprost at editor@ahnfsj.ca.

© Copyright Alaska Highway News

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