UPDATE: Man found guilty of assault with weapon, uttering threats

Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

Edward Eugene Layman is on trial on charges of assault against Newfoundland Power employees. — Photo by Rosie Gillingham/The Telegram

Judge David Orr found Edward Eugene Layman guilty today of one count each of assault with a weapon and uttering threats.

The charges were laid in March after Newfoundland Power employees complained Layman had threatened them.

Layman was sentenced to a 60-day conditional sentence, with a year's probation.

The court was told Layman has some mental health issues — paranoia and depression — to which Orr said rehabilitation was key, rather that deterrence.

Nonetheless, the judge pointed out that such behaviour is not acceptable.


The trial of a man accused of assaulting and threatening Newfoundland Power employees got underway today in provincial court in St. John's.

Edward Eugene Layman, 62, is charged with two counts each of assault with a weapon and uttering threats.

The charges were laid as a result of an incident that was said to have happened March 28, 2012, at 10 Prim Pl., where Layman lived at the time.

NL Power employees John Whelan and Don Murphy testified that they went to the house to disconnect the power after Layman's account was five months overdue. He had owed $247.

They said when they went to the back of his house to disconnect the metre, Layman came out and yelled at them.

The men said Layman yelled at them to leave the property.

Layman offered to pay them $50 towards his bill, but it wasn't enough. Murphy said they needed at least $150.

After some discussion, they said that's when Layman went back inside the house and came out with an axe.

They said Layman said, "Someone's going to get hurt over this. Someone's going underground."

With Whelan standing next to the metre box, Layman then swung the axe and knocked it off the house, they said.

"He frightened the hell out of me," Whelan said.

At that point, Murphy called police.

When Layman took the stand, he said he was upset and did tell them to leave the yard, but couldn't remember uttering threatening comments to them.

He said Whelan had been to the house before to collect money and always settled for $50.

"He would always leave on a good note," said Layman, who said he was on social assistance and had lived there with his 17-year-old son.

But this time, he said, Murphy did the talking and demanded the full amount of the bill owing.

"There was no getting through to him," Layman said.

He admitted he came out with an axe and swung it at the metre box, but said he didn't aim it at either of the men.

He said after hitting the metre, "I realized what I had done, so I went inside and waited for the police to show up."

Crown prosecutor David D'Intino and defence lawyer Ken Hollett will make closing arguments this afternoon.

Organizations: Newfoundland Power

Geographic location: St. John's

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page



Recent comments

  • yo mama
    May 12, 2013 - 11:58

    Looks like Mr. Layman made a whole lot of bad choices in life, and for all anyone knows commenting on here, might be a drug addict who deserves some jail time. Time will tell, when the real story comes out.

  • Wanda White
    May 07, 2013 - 20:01

    I'd like to comment , if I may. This is EXACTLY the same situation those on Income Support find themselves in. Before you pooh pooh this consider that Mr. Layman gets about $500 per month. NL Power DEMANDS half of this. Maybe he does have problems, who doesn't? One of the problems as I see it, is that the amount set out by AES guidelines does not permit ANYONE to live like a normal humman being. Mr. Layman nor any other AES client should not have to have their lights cut BECAUSE the government isn't providing them with sufficient money to live and pay their bills in 2013. Also any time a client in the justice system gets out of hand, a psychiatrist is there to evaluate and speak on behalf the person. Where was Mr. Laymans help? He got none, no help from AES, no compassion from the NL Power Corp., no help from his Rep in government, no help from the psychiatrists, and the bloody public, instead of showing support for this individual are ready to draw and quarter him! FOR SHAME! You ALL should be careful, you're just a pink slip away yourselves!

  • Poor Soul
    May 06, 2013 - 21:36

    This upsets me soooo much that NL Power with all their bucks go harassing someone over a measely $247. Different if the man owed $2470. Obviously he tried his best & even offered $50 which was acceptable all along???? So whats the problem here anyways??? I don't think NL Power should have ppl going to your door collecting money anyway!!!! Bunch of S#$%heads!!!

  • No Sorry
    May 06, 2013 - 20:59

    I'm sorry, I disagree with all of you. When you don't pay your bill for 5 months, you get disconnected. What do you think happens if I don't pay my mortgage, phone bill, cable bill, or car payment for 5 months. I'd be walking, homeless with no phone or TV. The other folks on social assistance pay their bills, why can't he? They should add the cost of the box on to his bill. That you're poor and not organized enough to pay your bills doesn't give you the right to threaten hardworking people whose taxes pay for your social assistance.

    • Jay
      May 07, 2013 - 07:09

      Sure! While we're at it, let's put him in debtor's prison as well. Are there no workhouses? Cable is not the same as light and heat. Nfld. Power is always sending out their flyers bragging about their charities, pretending to be a good corporate citizen (using rate payers money of course.) Also Nfld. Power should not put their employees in situations such as these. They are technical people obviously trained in electricity issues, if they were there to disconnect power. If there's a dispute they should leave.

  • SO SAD
    May 06, 2013 - 20:04

    NL Power needs to get a grip ....causing a poor helpless man on assistance to fight to the point of ending up in court. Now the poor fellow as a record for gods knows how long .....and for what 247 dollars WOW!!!...... that's what you call justice, thumbs up to the system in NL ...it cost twice that much just to do the paper work ....I would say NL Power spent 3 times that just for the count cost ......Q? how much do you figure NL Power spent to get this judgement ? court time , Lawyer, Judge, courtroom staff....I do realize that people can't have power for free but ...this was wrong on all levels......I don't think the shame here goes to Mr.Layman ......the shame is all on NL POWER....way to go guys....you won that one for sure!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Dicky
    May 06, 2013 - 18:12

    I feel bad for this guy, but it seems like he got off with a slap on the wrist. Conditional sentence for threatening a person with an axe The boys from NL Power were jus doing there job...He knew what he had done too...as he stated "I just went inside and waited for the cops". Bad decision. 5 months overdue! what did he think would happen? ..NO pay NO power

  • Jay
    May 06, 2013 - 17:56

    NL Power could not find a way to help a senior citizen who's fallen upon rough times? Surely, they could have some kind of contingency plan to help people keep their power. Do they even try to understand the demoralizing effect that having your lights cut off has. This is a faceless, gutless, corporation which has no heart. You should be ashamed of yourselves. And your workers should be told to leave if they encounter a situation where there is a person in distress. What do you expect when you back somebody into a corner? Shame on you.

  • Donna Hynes
    May 06, 2013 - 17:40

    NL Power has NO COMPASSION ,they don't care ,who ,or what the circumstances are. Two Yrs ago they left me without power for two weeks because they said that someone else was in the house & they owed a power bill so I couldn't have power. How stupid is that.I called everyone on the matter & NOBODY could do anything. I asked them to come to my house that the person was Not there.But to no avail. They knew he was there.They were very RUDE, from the bottom up.

  • John
    May 06, 2013 - 17:31

    Bottom line the guy did wrong. NL Power is like any other business, they want to get paid. If you burn oil for heat or propane I wonder how long it would take before they stop filling your tank, I doubt it would take as long as five months.

  • gerry
    May 06, 2013 - 17:31

    Major corportations, government & private = blood sucking parastic leeches who give didly squat about the little guy....

  • AL Hickey
    May 06, 2013 - 16:55

    I totally understand the man's frustration and anger.. There should be a law disallowing NL Power from arbitrarily cutting off someone's power without a hearing by the board.. Also, it's the kind of thing that social agencies such as income assistance, Salvation Army or local churches should address and be willing to work with people to get through the situation without the need for a cut off..That's how it's done country wide. That is, everywhere but Newfoundland...

  • Just Sayin
    May 06, 2013 - 16:05

    96 percent of Nflders would like to see lower power bills. Not Nfld Power's fault that Muskrat Falls will drive up power bills another 50 percent. But Nfld Power could have better Conservation Plans to help reduce energy costs. Take Charge is just a joke. I guess we'll have more people disconnecting power a few years from now.

  • coco
    May 06, 2013 - 15:50

    Any word yet on what date they will start to draw down the 50 years of Muskrat payments from our electricity bills? The younger folk are getting a bit worried about it, since Kathy Dudnerdale's "Let's take from the most vulnerable and give it to our friends" type of budget.

  • Oh my
    May 06, 2013 - 13:51

    The almighty dollar ... I guess NL Power needs it. How much will the trial cost? Maybe NL Power should look at their policy on collecting overdue accounts.

  • Peeved
    May 06, 2013 - 12:11

    Is NL power going to go broke over 247 dollars, I think Mr. Layman went a bit far, but I have been in his situation and $50 can be grocery money for a couple of weeks. NL power should really find some compassion. As for the gentlemen who were sent to disconnect the power, the appropriate answer to Mr. Layman would be to call the office. This really peeves me!!!!!!!!!!

    • DC
      May 06, 2013 - 14:21

      $247.00???? Obviously he had been paying something monthly towards the total as 5 months of winter would add up to much more than $247.00? I am surprised that Newfoundland Power would be allowed to turn off anyone’s electricity in March? I am saddened that this would happen. There are better ways to handle this. It states that he is on social services, then maybe moving forward the government should consider giving the social services cheque less a portion to cover the NL Power bill. Maybe NL Power would consider a discounted rate for social services sites if they were guaranteed to receive the payment from the government verses the individual? Actions of both parties is unacceptable, sad to see a man pushed so far to stay warm, and a large company like NL power not have a better approach. It’s sad that NL Power would allow their employees to get stuck in the middle of this? Maybe NL Power should start subcontracting the RNC to assist their workers when they send them out to alter a person’s life like turning off a necessity? What safety training did these employees have in dealing with irrate individuals should an incident like this happen? In the end, the tax payers are paying for the end result! A day in court, which will cost much more that $247.00? I just shake my head!