A Whitehorse man is facing criminal charges after a fake bomb threat against the Yukon Arts Centre during a performance by comedian Jenny Hamilton the evening of Aug. 27. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Man charged after fake bomb threat towards the Yukon Arts Centre

Owen Williams is facing a charge each of public mischief and making a false alarm of fire

A Whitehorse man is facing criminal charges after a fake bomb threat against the Yukon Arts Centre.

Yukon RCMP were called to the centre at 7:11 p.m. on Aug. 27 after receiving the threat, police spokesperson Kalah Klassen said in an email Aug. 28.

The building was evacuated but no explosives were located.

An audience of about 46 people were watching a performance by comedian Jenny Hamilton when the threat was called in.

“We certainly were given very clear instructions that the evacuation needed to happen immediately and so our director of programming immediately went to the stage and announced this to the audience and we followed our evacuation procedures,” Yukon Arts Centre CEO Casey Prescott said in an interview Aug. 28, adding that Hamilton was on the last joke of her set “which I don’t think the audience heard the punchline for.”

Musician Paris Pick had been scheduled to perform after Hamilton’s set.

Prescott said the centre will be rescheduling the show and honouring all existing tickets.

Whitehorse resident Owen Williams has been arrested and charged with one count each of public mischief and making a false alarm of a fire.

He made his first court appearance the afternoon of Aug. 28 and was released on bail on four conditions — that he would report to a bail supervisor, not come within 200 metres of the arts centre, not possess or consume alcohol or illegal drugs and see a mental health counsellor at least once every two weeks.

Court documents show that he is also facing two additional charges for allegedly making fake reports about a fire and arson at the centre in May.

Williams has been locked in a long-standing dispute with the Yukon Arts Centre over its unauthorized display of his art in 2009, during which the centre used his work as podiums for another artist’s pieces. The centre issued a public apology in 2019 after Williams pursued legal action, but Williams told media at the time that he didn’t think the apology was thorough enough.

Prescott declined to comment on the centre’s history with Williams.

However, he said that the “silver lining” to the situation was that it showed that the centre had “very good” evacuation procedures in place, and that the centre would continue to hold public events.

“We’re working with all of our community partners and we are prioritizing a safe environment and you know, we’re trying to pursue normal and this is but a hiccup,” Prescott said.

Contact Jackie Hong at jackie.hong@yukon-news.com

bomb threatsWhitehorse RCMP

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Council ponders freezing own wages

As it considers salaries for next term, some current members suggest not taking next CPI increase

Whitehorse driver gets one-month sentence, $1k fine for fatally hitting pedestrian in 2019

Karen Kennedy was sentenced before territorial court judge Michael Cozens Sept. 22

$500,000 deficit projected for Whitehorse

COVID-19 impacts cost the city $1.8 million

WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Sept. 23, 2020

From Whitehorse to the Whitecaps

Joe Hanson is starting his second season with the Vancouver Whitecaps academy

Yukon NDP hold AGM

This year’s meeting was held virtually

Watson Lake man arrested on cocaine charge

Calvin Pembleton, 53, is facing multiple charges

Liard First Nation’s language department receives literacy award

Decades of work has made Kaska language available to many

Yukon government releases new guidelines for COVID-19 symptoms and sending children to school

The advice sorts symptoms into three categories: red, yellow and green

Nominations closed in Watson Lake byelection

Four candidates are running for mayor

Baggage screening changes begin

Passengers are asked to arrive earlier than normal in order to accommodate the new temporary system

Yukon Government extends education review

The final report is scheduled for release in March 2021

City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Most Read