Lawyer guilty of drug trafficking

Halifax lawyer Anne Calder has been found guilty of drug trafficking.

In the space of just a few minutes Thursday afternoon, Anne Calder went from being a troubled Halifax lawyer to a convicted drug trafficker.

Calder, 56, was found guilty on three counts of trafficking in the powerful painkiller Dilaudid. One charge relates to her smuggling the drug into the Burnside Jail in 2009. The other two charges relate to drugs police found when they searched her home office.

A teary-eyed Calder brushed past reporters moments after the verdict was delivered.

Calder was charged after she brought an envelope containing drugs to client Thomas Izzard.

Calder claimed she thought the package contained tobacco, even though tobacco is also considered a contraband item.

She was charged with trafficking in hydromorphone, possessing the drug for the purpose of trafficking and possessing less than three kilograms of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking.

During her trial, Calder described her behaviour as "stupidly naive" when she went to the jail on July 14, 2009, for a meeting with Izzard.

Jail guard Gerard Beaton testified that he was watching a video surveillance monitor when he saw what he considered to be suspicious activity. Beaton said Izzard took something off the table in the interview room and put it in his pants.

After his superior reviewed the video, Izzard was subjected to a strip search. Court heard that the inmate handed over a package concealed in his underwear containing tobacco, capsules and white granular powder.

Justice Kevin Coady said after viewing the security video, it was clear that Calder and Izzard were trying to hide more than just tobacco.

"The fact that a lawyer must sign in, pass through a metal detector, place personal items in a locker and submit their bag to a search suggests that even the most naive person would be aware that nothing is to be passed to an inmate during visits. It is inconceivable that Ms. Calder would not be on the alert to the very real likelihood that the package contained drugs as well as tobacco," read Coady's decision.

Sentencing arguments will be heard April 4. Calder is free in the meantime. Her client Thomas Izzard is due in court next month to face charges in the same incident.

Calder voluntarily stopped practicing law in 2009, following the allegations. The bar society is still investigating her conduct in this case, and several others.

This was Calder's second trial on the charges. Her first trial began on April 6, 2010, but Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Peter Bryson halted proceedings a week later because new evidence came to light.