A dozen HMP inmates charged after another prison riot

Rosie Mullaley rmullaley@thetelegram.com
Published on June 20, 2014
Steven Michael Rumsey was one of 12 inmates from Her Majesty’s Penitentiary who appeared in provincial court in St. John’s Thursday in connection with riots at the prison.
 — Photo by Rosie Mullaley/The Telegram

A dozen inmates from Her Majesty's Penitentiary (HMP) were brought before a judge Thursday after they were charged with taking part in a riot at the prison earlier this month.
Philip James Hollihan, Barry A. Morningstar, Julian Matthew Squires, Steven Michael Rumsey, Anthony Chad Sturge, Jody Clarke, Justin Harvey, Jason Wilfred Fried, Paul Connolly, Justin Christopher Hopkins, Mitchell A. Wall and Nour-el-Dean Mouneimneh appea-red just as provincial court in St. John's was about to close for the day.

Sheriff's officers, clerks, lawyers and Judge Pamela Goulding stayed after hours to have the cases heard in Courtroom No. 7.

Security was tight, with several police officers inside and outside the courtroom.

The men have all been charged with taking part in a riot. Some of them also face charges of causing malicious damage and uttering threats to corrections officers.

They were charged as a result of an incident that happened on June 3 at HMP on Forest Road in St. John's.

About 8:20 p.m. that evening, officers from RNC patrol services, forensic identification services and criminal investigation division responded to HMP to the report of a disturbance.

It happened in one of the living units and resulted in significant damage to that unit.

While the RNC indicated in a news release Thursday afternoon that the men were charged as a result of three incidents that happened at HMP this past month, the court information indicated the charges stemmed from the June 3 incident.

Eleven of the 12 men agreed to have their cases return to court July 9. Sturge was the only one who requested a bail hearing. It was set for June 26.

It was the latest in several violent incidents that have happened at HMP this year. Prisoners have been injured and hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage has been done.

Several of the men charged in this latest riot were also charged in connection with prior incidents.

Corrections officers and NAPE have demanded that the provincial government take immediate action to improve conditions at the aging facility, as more dangerous incidents are happening.

In March, the government responded to HMP security concerns by announcing corrections officers will now carry pepper spray, while new metal detectors were to be installed at the prison.

Many believe more staff is needed. But most in the justice system believe it's time for a new prison.

The government has said it's committed to getting a new prison, and in February, announced it would spend $235,000 for a study to examine location, costs and timetable.

Results of the report are expected by the fall.