Former Calgary cop concocted plan to harass mother: prosecutor

Former Calgary cop concocted \plan to harass\ mother: prosecutor
Accused stalker says alleged victim engaged in suspicious behaviour
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.

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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.

Jurors hear of 'non-stop' harassment of woman in custody battle with ex-spouse who hired private investigators

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.

"She will be monitored/surveilled/investigated for at least long as she is in Calgary," wrote Carter. 

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."

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.

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.

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.

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The exterior of the Calgary Courts Centre was photographed on Tuesday January 16, 2018. Gavin Young/Postmedia

Alleged stalking victim Akele Taylor engaged in behaviour consistent with drug trafficking, one of the people charged with criminally harassing her testified Thursday.

Steve Walton, a former drug unit detective with the Calgary Police Service, testified he witnessed what he felt was suspicious conduct while doing surveillance work on Taylor.

“I watched . . . what appeared to be distribution of drugs,” Walton told a Calgary jury, while being cross-examined by the lawyer for co-accused Ken Carter.

Walton described conduct he called “dusting off,” when a suspect under police watch tries to “determine if there is surveillance.”

Walton is charged along with his wife, Heather, and Carter with criminal harassment for allegedly engaging in an ongoing campaign against Taylor in a bid to get her to back off in a child custody dispute.

Calgary businessman Ken Carter leaves court in Calgary on Tuesday, October 9, 2018. It is alleged that Carter paid two unlicensed private detectives to harass his ex-girlfriend in a dispute over custody of their daughter. Jim Wells/Postmedia

Under cross-examination by Carter’s lawyer, Gavin Wolch, Walton had negative comments about his observations of Taylor while he was conducting surveillance on her.

Walton said one of his duties while working for Carter in 2012 and 2013 was to assist in parental exchanges between his client and Taylor.

Along with the stalking charge, Walton and his wife also face allegations of police bribery for allegedly paying for private information from CPS databanks.

Crown prosecutor Ryan Persad grilled Walton on payments he made to Const. Bryan Morton, who was hired by the accused to assist in his security business.

Persad noted an email exchange between the accused and Morton discussed the names of 10 individuals supplied by a former boyfriend of Taylor’s.

Persad suggested Walton was paying Morton $500 a name to run those individuals through the police CPIC database and report back to him.

Walton agreed he sent Morton a cheque on June 12, 2013, for $5,000, but insisted it was for security work.

“I suggest to you, you were in fact paying Mr. Morton $500 per CPIC inquiry,” Persad said to Morton.

Morton admitted he’d used police databases in the past for personal use, but said that was during a different era when police culture wasn’t as strict.