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Rotorua man who threatened Comey sentenced

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 7/06/2017
James Comey © AP Photo/John Minchillo James Comey

A Rotorua man who made death threats against former FBI director James Comey has been sentenced to supervision and community work.

Frank Stewart McLean, who claimed he'd planted a bomb in the United States embassy and posted threats against Mr Comey when he was in New Zealand in April, was handed the sentence at the Rotorua District Court on Wednesday.

Judge Kim Saunders told McLean, 32, the messages he'd posted on Facebook were appalling and crossed the boundaries of freedom of speech.

She sentenced him to 12 months supervision, ordering him to attend drug and alcohol programmes and undertake any directed counselling.

He was also sentenced to 180 hours community work, 140 of them for the charge of making a false statement which McLean had earlier admitted and another 40 in lieu of $4844 in outstanding fines remitted by the judge.

She said McLean had gone on a social media rant over a couple of days expressing the extremely strong view America was the No. 1 terrorist nation in the world.

His bomb threat to the embassy had led to its evacuation and the involvement of numerous police officers.

McLean had also posted messages on the Police Facebook page making direct threats that Comey would be shot and would leave New Zealand in a box.

He subsequently sent emails to the Government Communications Security Bureau, the National Cyber Security Centre, the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security and cabinet minister Chris Finlayson.

"You cannot possibly be surprised now by the real consequences of you posting these appalling comments," Judge Saunders told McLean.

His lawyer, Erin Riley, said he accepted his involvement in social media was totally inappropriate.

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