Calgary

Calgary cop on trial for corruption was 'whistleblower' who brought case to police, court hears

One of the three current and former Calgary officers on trial for corruption was the "whistleblower" responsible for bringing the case to police, court heard Tuesday.

Three current and former police service members are accused of targeting mother in custody battle

Steve Walton, left, and Anthony Braile are two of six people, mostly current and former Calgary police employees, who are charged in connection with a corruption, bribery and harassment investigation. (getthedopeondope.com/Google+)

One of the three current and former Calgary officers on trial for corruption was the "whistleblower" responsible for bringing the case to police, court heard Tuesday. 

It all started with a meeting in August 2014 at the Newcastle Pub on 17th Avenue S.W., where Anthony Braile told Akele Taylor — the alleged victim in this case — and her lawyer that he'd been paid to follow her, bug her home and track her car with a hidden GPS device. 

Accused was told victim was drug addict, prostitute

Braile, Const. Bryan Morton and Sgt. Bradford McNish are on trial, accused of targeting Taylor when they worked for a private investigation firm run by retired Calgary Police Service officer Steve Walton and his wife, Heather. 

Taylor and her former common-law husband, Ken Carter, were in the middle of a bitter custody dispute in 2012 when he hired the PI firm to dig up dirt her. The firm, which employed current and former officers like Braile, Morton and McNish, even went so far as to offer money to her friends and family in an effort to get them to say negative things about her, according the prosecution.

During that 2014 meeting at the pub, Braile said he agreed to Walton's assignment because he had been told Taylor was a drug addict and a prostitute. Braile told lawyer Clive Llewellyn and Taylor that after about 12 months he realized "she was not doing anything improper."

Braile was upset about "the dirty cops" and wanted to "clear his conscience," said Llewellyn. 

Bryan Morton and Brad McNish are on trial alongside Tony Braile on corruption-related charges. The suspended CPS officers worked for a private investigation firm and are accused of targeting a woman who was in the middle of a custody dispute. (Meghan Grant/CBC)

According to Llewellyn, Taylor and Braile were in "frequent communications" after that initial meeting at the pub and would sometimes have dinner together. When they heard this testimony, Morton and McNish, who are sitting beside each other behind their lawyers, looked at each other and shook their heads. 

Llewellyn was testifying on Day 2 of the trial in a voir dire, a hearing to determine the admissibility of some of the Crown's evidence. In this case, it's Braile's sworn statement, which was prepared to help Taylor sue Carter, the Waltons and police.

The lawsuit was never filed; Taylor and Carter — who is said to be worth about $80 million — came to a settlement.  

Defence will argue Llewellyn gave Braile legal advice so the affidavit is protected by solicitor/client privilege. 

Although he testified that he did not give Braile any legal advice and was never acting as his lawyer, Llewellyn said he did help the now-accused former officer draft a letter to a CPS lawyer.

Taylor was described as Target 1

The three men are charged with bribery and unauthorized use of the Calgary Police Service's computer systems. Braile and Morton also face charges of criminal harassment, while Morton and McNish each face a charge of breach of trust.

Another former CPS officer who worked with Walton and assisted with the surveillance of Taylor began his testimony Tuesday afternoon.

Robinson Wilson was contracted by Carter to gather "evidence to discredit [Taylor] for the purpose of the custody hearing."

At times, Taylor — who was described as T1 or Target 1 — seemed to be aware she was being followed, engaging in what Wilson described as "counter-surveillance measures" like circling the block, pulling over to allow traffic to pass and doing U-turns in traffic. 

4-week trial

All alleged offences stem from activity between 2012 and 2015, during which time all three were CPS officers, though Braile had been suspended for unrelated matters.  

Braile was fired by the Calgary Police Service in 2016 for professional misconduct relating to a 2008 high-speed chase. He is appealing the service's decision.

Morton and McNish are currently suspended from the police service pending the outcome of this trial.

Court of Queen's Bench Justice Bryan Mahoney is presiding over the four-week, judge-alone trial.

Senior defence lawyers Pat Fagan, Jim Lutz and Paul Brunnen represent Braile, Morton and McNish, respectively. Edmonton Crown attorneys Leah Boyd and Julie Snowdon are prosecuting the case.

About the Author

Meghan Grant

CBC Calgary reporter

Meghan Grant is the courts and crime reporter for CBC Calgary.