Correctional officer standing trial for alleged threats
- Published on March 9, 2011
- Published on March 8, 2011
CORNER BROOK A correctional officer accused of threatening a man and his dog a man not unfamiliar with the justice system himself is denying the allegations against him.
Jerry Joseph Lyver of Corner Brook, a well-known animal lover, is accused of threatening to shoot Martell Pennell and his dog in early October 2009. The two men had an altercation after Lyver found the man and his dog on the front lawn of his mother’s Corner Brook property.
Lyver does not dispute a heated exchange took place between the two, which escalated when he said Pennell denied his dog had defecated on the property and then refused to clean it up.
In the trial, which continued in provincial court Tuesday, Pennell told the court Lyver said he would shoot him and his dog. Two female witnesses who walked by the street at the time also testified hearing similar threats from the accused.
In court Tuesday, Lyver said the threats to harm the dog shows how ridiculous the allegations are. He said he has rescued animals across the province and would never do harm to a dog. His brother runs the local Pet Transfer operation.
Lyver also said threatening a person is not in his character or nature.
Although Pennell was known to him through his work at Her Majesty’s Penitentiary, Lyver said he didn’t know who the individual was that night because he wore a hoodie with the hood up and close around his face. He said it wasn’t until well after he was charged he learned the man’s identity.
As for the two female witnesses, Lyver testified he is certain the women took advantage of the opportunity to testify against him as retribution for him reporting a family member for impaired driving years ago.
Lyver also said he had previous dealings with Pennell at the Corner Brook lock-up, that he considered him a dangerous man who was arrogant.
Meanwhile, defence lawyer Scott Burden called Warren Hynes, a passenger in the vehicle with Lyver that night, to testify he did not hear Lyver threaten Pennell. However, Crown attorney Vikas Khaladkar was quick to attempt to discredit the witness with audio of telephone conversations Hynes had with police officers in November 2010. Hynes called the station asking to have his previous statement revoked because he was being blackmailed. However, he later rescinded that, saying his medication for depression was making him uncertain of his actions.
Tuesday, Hynes said he didn’t recall either recorded conversations with police, but verified it was his voice.
The trial is scheduled to resume March 15.
Meanwhile, Pennell is accused of assaulting two men with a knife outside a bar last September. Tuesday he pleaded not guilty to six charges in relation to that incident.