A former jail guard who brought contraband items into the Provincial Correctional Centre was sentenced Friday to two years in prison for breach of trust by a public officer.
James Tutton, 39, appeared before Chief Judge Nancy Orr in provincial court in Charlottetown for sentencing after previously entering a guilty plea.
Before sentencing Tutton, Orr said it is extremely serious when a guard brings contraband into a correctional facility.
“It’s undermining the criminal justice system they’re supposed to be part of,” she said.
During a previous appearance, the court heard Tutton was working as a guard at the provincial jail when he brought contraband into the facility for an inmate, including a cellphone, tobacco and marijuana.
An investigation began after a member of the public reported receiving harassing phone calls from an inmate.
A woman who was involved in the plan gave Tutton money to bring the items into the jail and the accused later told police he was having financial difficulties at the time of the offence.
During submissions Friday, Crown attorney Nathan Beck said guards are entrusted with authority over inmates and to ensure items don’t get into the jail.
Tutton’s actions amount to a serious breach of trust, Beck said.
Defence lawyer Brendan Hubley told the court Tutton was in the military for 15 years, he worked as a police officer in Quebec and was a summer cadet with Charlottetown police before starting work at the correctional centre.
His career is probably over, Hubley said.
In response, Orr said Tutton’s career should be over.
“I hope it would be.”
Orr said jails are about having people’s liberties restricted.
“They’re not holidays. They’re not vacations,” she said.
Before hearing his sentence, Tutton briefly addresses the court.
“I just want to apologize, your honour,” he said.
In sentencing Tutton, Orr accepted a joint recommendation from the Crown and defence.