Trial begins in 'swatting' case against 17-year-old Ottawa youth
An Ottawa teen is in court today, accused of calling in fake emergencies at schools across North America. The practice is called "swatting". The trial beginning in Ottawa today will hear evidence collected across the continent. It's a case that had police on high alert in several provinces and US states. Even the FBI got involved trying to track a hacker who was terrorizing schools and homes. The 17-year-old walked into an Ottawa courtroom, in an ill-fitting suit, sitting quietly in the front row beside his mother; a sharp contrast to the maelstrom the Crown contends he caused to police and schools.
The Crown alleges the teen called in a bomb threat to Cedarview Middle School in Ottawa and a death threat to the principal of John McRae High School, hacking an email account of a friend with whom he had had a fight.
The Crown says he met his targeted victims through an online game called Minecraft.
The 17-year-old is facing dozens of charges for using the internet to make fake 911 calls in several provinces and US states.
The Crown plans to call several witnesses by video from Florida, California and Laval, Quebec, who were victims of swatting. One case involves a young man from Stockton, California who had thousands of dollars’ worth of pizza sent to his home, then the SWAT team, after a 911 call about a hostage taking at his house.
Court heard that chilling 911 call with a man claiming to have three15-year-old hostages, demanding $100-thousand dollars or he would kill everyone. In a bomb threat to Laval school, he tells the 911 operator "everybody needs to pay for what they've done".
He then boasted, the Crown says, on a Twitter account about swatting.
"I'm thinking in about 2 hours we'll dispatch swat teams", the tweet says, then "still here police. Acquiring next target".
There is no argument from either side that these events happened. The defence, though, is simply taking the approach that it's not his client’s voice on those recordings. The Crown, though, will focus on evidence obtained from the 17 year old's computer and from a 911 call to try to prove the man behind that voice is the same one sitting in the courtroom. It is a complicated case involving terms like “swatting” which even the Judge admitted he had never heard of before today.