Nfld. & Labrador

Former jail guard to have case heard in mental health court

A former correctional officer at Her Majesty's Penitentiary cried after a provincial court judge granted his application to have his case handled by mental health court.
Edward Taylor, 35, will have his criminal case involving an alleged assault heard in mental health court, a judge ruled on Tuesday. (CBC)

A former correctional officer at Her Majesty's Penitentiary cried after a provincial court judge granted his application to have his case handled by mental health court.

Edward Taylor, 35, is accused of assaulting an employee at the Sheraton Hotel in St. John's as well as uttering threats against the worker last February. As a result, police also charged him with breaching his probation. 

Taylor, who has bipolar disorder and struggles with alcohol addiction, said he was drunk when the incident happened.

Defence lawyer Jennifer Curran argued Tuesday that social workers with the mental health court have said Taylor is a good candidate for their services, that would help him achieve and maintain his mental stability.

However, Crown prosecutor Dana Sullivan noted that Taylor's criminal record should be taken into consideration.

Taylor made headlines several years ago after the then-correctional officer pleaded guilty to five drug trafficking charges that involved marijuana and powerful prescription medications after he was caught trying to smuggle drugs into HMP while he was working. 

He no longer works at the correctional facility.

Judge Lois Skanes sided with Taylor, adding that workers with the court will keep a close watch on him.

"The community and public would benefit by him having go through mental health court because of the services he would get," Skanes said. 

Taylor cried briefly when the decision was made.

In April, Taylor was charged with impaired driving after he allegedly stole a taxi and led police on a car chase in St. John's. 

It is unknown how those charges will be handled. 

With files from Glenn Payette