Preliminary hearing for HMP guard underway

Rosie Mullaley
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Edward Taylor sits in provincial court in St. John’s today, awaiting the start of his preliminary hearing.

The preliminary inquiry for a prison guard suspected of trafficking drugs at the province's largest correctional facility got underway this morning at provincial court in St. John's.

Edward Taylor sat quietly in Courtroom No. 1 prior to the start of the hearing, which determines whether there is enough evidence to bring the case to trial.

The 30-year-old is represented by defence lawyer John Kelly, while Brenda Boyd and Sheldon Steeves are the Crown prosecutors.

The hearing is expected to last two days.

Taylor was a correctional officer at Her Majesty's Penitentiary (HMP) when he was arrested in February and charged. He faces five counts of possessing illegal drugs for the purpose of trafficking, two charges of breaching a Jan. 19, 2009, probation order and a single count of breach of trust by a public officer.

Taylor was on probation as a result of a conviction for assault causing bodily harm. He was involved in an altercation in April 2008 and was later given a 60-day conditional sentence and a year of probation.

The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary had been investigating drug trafficking in the prison for some time before Taylor's arrest and say they identified him in a sting dubbed Operation Safeguard.

Police say Taylor was in possession of less than three kilograms of marijuana and quantities of ecstasy, morphine, OxyContin and Clonazepam, all for the purpose of trafficking in the prison.

He was released from custody shortly after his first appearance in court in February — on a $2,000 recognizance with conditions to report weekly to RNC headquarters and to have no contact with four specific people as well as anyone else with a criminal record.

Organizations: Taylor's

Geographic location: St. John's

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