Woman suspected of threatening school kids may plead guilty

49-year-old long-term offender taken back to jail after appearing before judge

Rosie Mullaley rmullaley@thetelegram.com
Published on June 11, 2014
Nancy Harte is escorted out of Courtroom No. 7 in provincial court in St. John’s Tuesday after she appeared before a judge to face charges regarding threats made to schoolchildren. — Photo by Rosie Mullaley/The Telegram

The woman believed to have been responsible for causing a scare at a St. John’s elementary school Monday may plead guilty to charges laid against her.
When Nancy Harte appeared in provincial court in St. John’s Tuesday afternoon, duty counsel Jane Fitzpatrick told the judge the case may be dealt with expeditiously.
Harte was remanded back into custody for her next court date on June 25.

When she was first led into Courtroom No. 7 in the morning, she said nothing as she walked past reporters outside the courtroom. She was also quiet as Judge Pamela Goulding read the charges — uttering threats and mischief relating to property.

Fitzpatrick and Crown prosecutor Jason House agreed to send Harte for a lunch-hour psychiatric assessment at the Waterford Hospital.

The 49-year-old was deemed mentally fit to stand trial.

Harte was arrested Monday afternoon after she allegedly made threats towards schoolchildren.

It prompted Bishop Feild Elementary, in the downtown area of the capital city, to implement security measures.

According to Telegram sources, Harte didn’t threaten any specific school.

She reportedly phoned the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary to make the threat.

Due to her proximity to Bishop Feild — determined by officers using caller ID — the police chose to alert the school as a precautionary measure.

Parents and guardians of students at the school were asked to pick up their children after the threat was received.

Meanwhile, classroom instruction could continue, but movements within the school were restricted.

It was not the same situation as lockdown mode, which is implemented when there is a known internal threat.

Harte has a lengthy criminal record — 11 pages long. It includes three convictions for sexual assault, uttering threats, making false fire alarm, arson, break and enter, assault with a weapon, assault, assaulting a peace officer, causing a disturbance, mischief relating to property and court breaches.

In 2001, Harte was given a 40-month jail term for charges including sexual assault.

Her most recent conviction was in January 2011 for uttering threats and breaching a long-term offenders order.

Harte was designated a long-term offender following her 2001 conviction. The designation means she’s determined to be a potential threat to public safety and there’s a substantial risk that she’ll re-offend. Harte’s 10-year supervision order — imposed by the National Parole Board and overseen by Corrections Services Canada — is reportedly scheduled to conclude in September.

 

rmullaley@thetelegram.com

Twitter: @TelyCourt