The man who put Penticton City Hall on lockdown after leaving threatening voicemails in 2015 is spending the next two years under a probation order.
Michael Edward Hibbert, 40, was convicted of one count of uttering threats in August and was sentenced on Wednesday at Penticton provincial court.
Hibbert left two threatening voicemails to an employee at city hall on Nov. 4, 2015, which spurred a lockdown of the building. The messages were left after a city worker attended Hibbert’s residence to shut off the power meter.
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Crown counsel Kurt Froehlich described the impact the threats had on the clerk who received the messages and the staff at city hall.
“I think it’s fair to characterize it that she was shaken up after receiving these messages,” Froehlich said. “The tone of them certainly was very threatening, very aggressive. It was certainly something that shocked the people at city hall.”
RCMP reported after the incident that they attended Hibbert’s residence where he confronted them before retreating inside with a hunting knife in hand. The standoff ended peacefully with Hibbert co-operating and taken into custody.
A psychiatric assessment was ordered on Nov. 9, 2015 which Froehlich cited when outlining multiple conditions Hibbert has been diagnosed with. Those include borderline personality disorder, possible major depressive disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. He was also abusing alcohol and using cocaine at the time, but reported to the court on Wednesday that he had been sober for over a year now.
The pre-sentence report indicated that Hibbert regrets making the threats, but also has little memory of the events.
Judge Greg Koturbash granted the 24 month suspended sentence and praised Hibbert for his sobriety.
“There might be some steps back, but don’t give up on yourself and keep trying to step forward,” Koturbash said.
He did note the effect threats like Hibbert’s can have on staff at city hall.
“City hall is flypaper for people with complaints all the time. It’s important for the court to send a strong message to yourself and to other that when those complaints cross the line they have to be dealt with severely,” Koturbash said, adding Hibbert’s threats were “shocking and disturbing.”
Hibbert now lives in the Lower Mainland, however he was ordered not to attend within 100 metres of Penticton City Hall or have contact with city hall employees except via email to deal with any outstanding issues with his utilities.