The alleged victim of police corruption testified Monday that not only had she become close friends with one of the three current and former Calgary police officers on trial, accused of following her and bribing her friends, Akele Taylor couldn't say with 100 per cent certainty she'd ever seen the other two.
"I'm not going to say for sure it was him and get them in trouble for something they didn't do," Taylor told the lawyer for Brad McNish
McNish, Anthony Braile and Bryan Morton went on trial in Calgary on Feb. 5. The trio face charges of bribery and unauthorized use of a computer system. Braile and Morton also face charges of criminal harassment, while Morton and McNish each face a charge of breach of trust.
They were all Calgary police officers when they worked for a private investigation firm that was hired by multi-millionaire Ken Carter, who is accused of using the company and its employees to stalk and harass his ex.
Taylor and Carter had a 13-month-old daughter together when they broke up in 2012. For the next two years, she described being terrorized; followed, threatened and taken to court.
After their breakup Carter, a former Jenny Craig franchise owner who is said to be worth $80 million, hired a PI firm run by retired Calgary police officer Steve Walton and his wife, Heather, which employed Braile, Morton and McNish.
Last week, Taylor testified that Carter wanted her to take a financial settlement to move away and leave their 13-month-old daughter with him. When she refused, he declared war.
Taylor described being followed (a GPS unit was later found on her car), she had police called on her, and several friends were offered money — in one case a close friend testified Heather Walton offered her $10,000 for dirt on her, which would help Carter gain full custody of their daughter.
All the while, the former couple was in and out of family court as Carter tried to take away her parental rights.
Taylor went on double-dates with Braile
Much of what Taylor — and eventually the police — learned initially came from Braile who said he began to feel guilty for following her and eventually became the whistleblower on the case.
Braile and Taylor became friends after he confessed that he and others had been following her for two years. They'd go on double dates together and their children became close.
In several instances, Taylor conceded that during the police investigation, she told detectives about instances involving Morton and McNish based solely on what Braile had told her.
Taylor's testimony focused mostly on the Waltons and Carter, who go on trial in September for harassment. However, she did say that she saw Morton and McNish at various times over the years and that they were involved in trying to bribe her friends for information.
But under cross-examination by Morton's lawyer, Jim Lutz, on Monday, Taylor said she could only be 80 per cent certain she'd spotted him over the two years she was followed.
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When she was boxed in on Bow Trail by the Waltons and a marked police car she suspected was driven by Morton, Taylor said, "I'm assuming it was Bryan but I'm not sure."
"I was being followed all the time all these years," said Taylor.
Lutz asked if she became paranoid.
"Of course," Taylor replied.
Taylor also agreed with Lutz that his client looks similar to another former police officer who did work for the Waltons.
'I could be wrong'
Last week when Taylor was asked if she could identify McNish in the courtroom, she pointed at him but on Monday, conceded to defence lawyer Paul Brunnen she had "picked him out because his name is Brad and he looked a little bit familiar."
"I could be wrong, I could be right," said Taylor. "He wasn't one of the faces I saw around all the time."
All alleged offences stem from activity between 2012 and 2015, during which time all three were Calgary Police Service officers, though Braile had been suspended for unrelated matters.
The trial, which is being presided over by Justice Bryan Mahoney, is set for three more weeks.
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