Calgary millionaire misses sentencing, lawyer says he's in Russian hospital

A wealthy Calgary businessman who was to be sentenced Tuesday after paying current and former police officers nearly $1,000,000 to harass his ex-girlfriend didn't show up in court — with his lawyer saying he was in a hospital in Russia.

If he doesn't show up in court on Friday, a Canada-wide warrant could be issued for his arrest.

Ken Carter was to be sentenced Tuesday alongside former Calgary Police Service employees Steve and Heather Walton for corruption-related offences involving the stalking and harassment of his ex-girlfriend, Akele Taylor. Carter paid the Waltons and their employees nearly $1,000,000.

"Mr. Carter is noticeably absent," Court of Queen's Bench Justice Glen Poelman said to Carter's lawyer, Gavin Wolch.

Wolch told the judge his client's situation was "against his control" and that he is in a cardiology unit in a hospital in Kazan, a city about 800 kilometres east of Moscow.

On May 21, prosecutors Katherine Love and Ryan Persad expressed concern Carter was a flight risk and asked that he surrender his passport.

"Did you know he planned to leave the country?" the judge asked Wolch.

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Wolch replied, "Not specifically," and pointed out his client's wife's family lives in Russia.

He also provided the court with two letters that he said were from the hospital treating Carter, saying the 59-year-old has been admitted.

According to a translation the letter reads: 

Republic of Tatarstan Kazan city State Clinical Hospital #7 Mr. Kenneth Robert Carter, born 1960, was urgently admitted to the cardiology department of the City Hospital #7 on 10 June 2019. He currently remains under treatment in hospital.

Love noted Carter is in a country that doesn't have an extradition treaty and asked the judge to direct that Wolch provide his client's travel itinerary so the Crown can investigate the details of when he left the country and when he planned to return. 

Poelman made the order and also issued a warrant to hold, which could be activated if Carter doesn't show up in court on Friday.

In 2012 and 2013, Carter paid nearly $1,000,000 to retired CPS officer Steve Walton and his wife, Heather Walton, who ran an unlicensed private investigation (PI) firm. 

Carter wanted the Waltons and their employees to harass Taylor, his ex-girlfriend, in hopes she would give up custody of the daughter they shared.

A GPS tracking device was placed by the Waltons' employees on Taylor's car. In 2012 and 2013, Taylor was followed, harassed and her friends were offered money in exchange for negative information about her. Sometimes the harassment took place by Walton employees while they were in marked Calgary police vehicles.

Defence lawyers for the trio had argued surveillance was conducted on Taylor to monitor her lifestyle and provided security for Carter and his daughter.

Court exhibit

Text messages between the three accused and others who worked for them showed an effort to wear Taylor down, "push her over the edge" and drive her to "the end of her rope."

They committed to "follow her around the world" if they needed to.

Carter was convicted of criminal harassment. Steve Walton was found guilty of that charge as well as charges of bribing an officer and improper use of a firearm. Heather Walton was convicted of bribing an officer as well as the firearms charge. Jurors were unable to decide whether she was guilty of criminal harassment so a mistrial on that charge was declared.

The bribery charges relate to paying serving police officers to access and share information from internal CPS databases on Taylor and her friends.

During the execution of a search warrant on the Waltons' home, police found firearms that were improperly stored.

Weeks before the trial, Taylor disappeared and never testified for the prosecution. She told the lead detective she no longer wanted to see Carter convicted. 

But she did testify in April 2018 at the trial for three current and former police officers — Bryan Morton, Brad McNish and Tony Braile — who were convicted of corruption-related offences for their participation in the harassment of Taylor. 

The officers were employees of the Waltons.