ACT News

Teenager accused of Calwell school bomb threat appears in court

A Canberra teenager accused of calling in a fake bomb threat to Calwell High School last week has appeared in court for the first time.

ACT police outside Canberra's Lanyon High School last Tuesday, following a bomb threat.
ACT police outside Canberra's Lanyon High School last Tuesday, following a bomb threat. Photo: Rohan Thomson

The boy, who cannot be named, is charged with phoning the school last Wednesday, telling them there was a bomb in the building.

The call was made at a time of heightened alert for schools across Australia and the globe.

A widespread hoax, believed to have originated overseas, had seen a series of bomb threats delivered across four Australian states, and across Britain, the US, France, Japan, Holland, Norway and Guam.

In the ACT, eight schools were targeted, prompting evacuations and disrupting first-week classes, including at Canberra High School, Forrest Primary School, Kingsford Smith School, Lanyon High School, Richardson Primary School and Miles Franklin Primary School.

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Authorities are still trying to track down the source of the anonymous threats, but experts believe it may be the work of teenage hackers using online programs to make untraceable calls.

Police, however, do not believe the call to Calwell High School was linked to the broader hoax. The teenager was quickly arrested after that call was made.

He faced the ACT Childrens Court on Tuesday, charged with one offence. No plea was entered.

The court heard the teenager has entered into a restorative justice program with the school. Such programs typically involve conferences between a victim and offender, in which the victim explains the impact the crime has had.

It also heard the boy's family have removed all phones, except a mobile, in their house so that he can return home from where he is currently residing.

Magistrate Karen Fryar adjourned the case until later this month. 

ACT Policing said last week that they were still investigating the other hoax calls made to schools.

NSW Police said there was no credible evidence the threats could actually be carried out, but rather that they were "hoaxes designed to cause unnecessary disruption and inconvenience".

Last week, Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham said that state police and education departments had joined with intelligence authorities to find the source of the calls.

He warned against anyone making copycat calls.