Missing victim, convicted cops, mysterious letter to media: what jury didn't hear in Calgary corruption trial
Former Calgary police officer Steve Walton was part of a "plan to harass" a Calgary mother, concocted with the women's angry ex-boyfriend, the prosecution suggested to jurors Thursday.
Walton is a retired CPS officer and his wife, Heather, a retired civilian member of the service. The couple, along with Ken Carter are on trial on charges of harassment and corruption.
The Waltons ran a company described as a risk management and protection firm that was hired by Ken Carter — who is said to be worth about $80 million — during a bitter custody dispute with Carter's ex, Akele Taylor, beginning in 2012.
Carter, who called his ex "the reptile," is accused of paying more than $800,000 to the Waltons over about an 18-month period to discredit and harass Taylor, who was also the mother of his daughter.
Steve Walton, 61, repeatedly said under questioning by his lawyer Alain Hepner on Tuesday that his sole goal in working for Carter was to protect his client the child.
Walton spent all of Thursday being cross-examined by Carter's lawyer Gavin Wolch and then by prosecutor Ryan Persad.
Jurors have heard Taylor was followed for months and had a GPS unit placed on her car. Her friends were also offered money to share negative information about her.
Walton says he didn't believe he participated in any kind of harassment.
Here's an example of a text message exchange between Carter and Steve Walton that was presented in court on Thursday:
Carter: Reptile is at kids water park centre street just north of downtown. Can you go make an appearance? Walton: Yes, will do. Carter: She's getting near the end of her rope." Walton: I believe she saw me, can't miss me really. I am going to hang around her apartment complex tonight and tomorrow. Carter: Help me come up with a plan to harass her in every way possible.
'We will follow her'
In an email exchange, Carter asks Steve Walton to send a threatening email to Taylor.
"She will be monitored/surveilled/investigated for at least long as she is in Calgary," wrote Carter.
"We will follow her around the world."
In response, Walton tells Carter: "Wow, not a very good prognosis for her."
But during his cross-examination, Walton said Carter was just emotional about wanting sole custody of his daughter.
"I don't see it as a blueprint for harassment," said Walton. "[Carter] wanted her to be gone from Calgary and out of his child's life."
Diaper bag listening device
Initially, Walton told Persad that Carter did not instruct him to pay his ex's friend for information on her or to hand over Taylor's cell phone for a few hours, but when pressed to revisit his interview with a police detective, he told the prosecutor "I did say that ... but it's a little bit foggy for me."
Walton also denied it was Carter who suggested buying Taylor's condo so they could have access to the inside but then confirmed he was in fact directed by his co-accused.
He also admitted to buying a listening device to place in Taylor's daughter's diaper bag.
In his dealings with Taylor, Walton was critical of the alleged victim, saying he only ever heard her refer to her daughter as "the baby" and never used the child's name. He also told Carter's lawyer, Gavin Wolch, that he believed Taylor was involved with drugs.
Closing arguments Monday
When asked whether he paid his employees — current members of the Calgary Police Service — for information from CPS databases, Walton admitted he knew his friends could be fired for doing the searches but asked anyway. He denied knowing it was against the law.
He said he hired current and former police officers to provide covert surveillance of Taylor and also supervised visitations between his client's daughter and her mother.
Heather Walton's lawyer, Kelsey Sitar, did not call any witnesses. Ken Carter did not testify in his own defence.
Closing arguments will take place on Friday and jurors will begin deliberating Monday after Justice Glen Poelman delivers his final instructions on the law.