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Posted Thursday, December 18, 2008                                                                          

Serial crank caller in Canada ordered to seek more therapy                   

By Ian Austen                                           

OTTAWA — Marie-Ève Dean’s harassment of the Montreal police department was, if nothing else, labor intensive. Over 15 months she flooded the city’s 911 emergency line with more than 10,000 crank calls in a dialing marathon that sometimes blocked legitimate callers.

On Wednesday, a judge in Montreal ordered Ms. Dean, 23, to undergo additional anger management therapy before he imposed a sentence on her recent convictions for mischief and conspiracy.

Ms. Dean has admitted to making the calls. But it is unclear exactly what she hoped to achieve. Both prosecutors and defense lawyers have described her as “very troubled.”

Judge Serge Boisvert of the Court of Quebec’s criminal and penal division said at a hearing on Wednesday that he was not convinced that a suspended sentence of nine months, which was recommended by the defense and the prosecution, would be appropriate. At an earlier hearing, he questioned whether Ms. Dean would be able to resist transforming her telephone into a weapon again.

While the crank calls between January 2006 and April 2007 all came from Ms. Dean’s telephone line, she was not the only one making them. Her former brother-in-law, Salim Omar Sheik Abuu, also made calls from her line. He was given a nine-month suspended sentence for his role in the harassment.

Most of the time, neither Ms. Dean nor Mr. Abuu said anything to the emergency operators who answered, according to evidence presented by prosecutors.

Claude Boucher, Ms. Dean’s lawyer, said that Mr. Abuu made the first call but acknowledged that his client made the vast majority of subsequent calls. In an interview, Mr. Boucher said that Mr. Abuu was angry about his lack of progress in a child-custody battle and began dialing the emergency number as form of revenge against the legal system. Ms. Dean, he added, soon joined in.

“It became a kind of game for her,” he said.

Prosecutors argued in court that Ms. Dean acted out of hatred for authority figures, including the police.

Mr. Boucher acknowledged that his client has trouble dealing with her anger. But he said she has been making progress through therapy.

Ms. Dean showed no emotion as she left court on Wednesday.

She is scheduled to return to court for a sentencing hearing on Feb. 27. She also faces trial on separate charges of making death threats to police officers. According to the police, those threats were made in person.

Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company. Reprinted from The New York Times, International, of Thursday, December 18, 2008.
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