A 61-year-old St. John's man has been sentenced to 60-days house arrest and a year of probabation after being found guilty of assault with a weapon in connection with his run-in with two Newfoundland Power workers.
In March 2012, the workers went to Edward Layman's house to disconnect his electricity.
The power company says Layman hadn't paid his bill for five months.
Layman, who is on social assistance, said Newfoundland Power workers would show up at his house about three times a year to disconnect his service, and he was always able to work out some payment plan.
But Layman said in March 2012, he lost his temper when one of the two workers asked him for the $250 he owed.
Layman said he told the workers that if they disconnected his electricity, "I will be evicted. I'll lose everything."
Layman said he went back inside his house, got the axe, and came out and told the workers to get off his property. He said they told him they were going to take the meter.
Layman said, "I swung the axe. I thought 'You want it, here, take it,'" and he struck the meter.
A utility worker testified that Layman came out of the house and smashed the meter off with an axe, sending it flying about eight metres.
One of the workers said that Layman "frightened the hell out of me when he swung that axe."
One of the workers said he "absolutely" felt threatened by Layman, and the other said "when he swung that axe he frightened the hell out of me."
Even though Layman didn't strike the men with the axe, provincial court Judge David Orr found him guilty of assault with a weapon, and said threatening was included in that offence.