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Calgary trio found guilty of multiple offences in corruption and harassment trial
The jury has reached a verdict in the trial of former Calgary police officer, his wife and a local businessman who are all accused of harassing a woman in 2012.
Guilty verdicts have been filed for six of the seven charges laid against Steve Walton, Heather Walton and Ken Carter.
Steve Walton was found guilty of criminal harassment, bribery of a police officer and improper storage of a restricted firearm.
Carter was found guilty of criminal harassment.
Heather Walton was found guilty of bribery and improper storage of a firearm, but a mistrial was called on the third charge of criminal harassment.
Walton, who operated the private investigation firm Walton and Walton with his wife Heather, was allegedly employed by Carter to uncover evidence to discredit his ex-wife Akele Taylor.
The scheme was hatched to give Carter leverage in a bitter custody dispute involving the couple’s young daughter.
Taylor soon learned that her ex-husband had hired people to follow her and report on her activities. She filed a formal complaint in 2014 that then led to the police investigation.
The court heard that the Waltons, both former members of the Calgary Police Service, hired active CPS officers to assist in their investigation by conducting surveillance while on duty, gathering confidential information from police databases and various other side work.
Lawyers for the defence and Crown both say that it was a difficult trial for all of those involved.
"[There were] a lot of legal issues, lots of factual issues. I know the jury was very intense and some were very emotional during the verdict. It was noticable to all of us," said Alain Hepner, Steve Walton's lawyer.
Heather Walton's lawyer Kelsey Sitar says it will be up to the prosecutor's office whether or not they will pursue a retrial for the seventh charge.
"Certainly, we will continue through the remainder of the process on the convictions that have been registered."
Crown prosecutor Ryan Persad says the trial put the justice system through every possible test, but the jury did their job.
"I think that the jury was cautioned about its duty and they delivered their verdict as they were required."
Hepner says that they will now move forward to the next phase.
"[We'll] address the sentencing issues, finding of fact by the trial judge and then put our best perspectives forward for our respective clients."
The Waltons contend that despite the verdict, they did the right thing.
"A 14-month-old baby girl was being saved and we're happy we did it," said Heather Walton.
In April, the three officers implicated in the incident were found guilty on a number of charges, including bribery and unauthorized use of a computer and breach of trust.
A sentencing hearing in the case will be held next week.