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.