Calgary

2 Calgary officers want corruption convictions tossed or jail sentences lowered

Two of three Calgary police officers found guilty of corruption-related offences and sentenced to time behind bars have filed appeals, asking the province's top court to overturn their convictions or at least lower their sentences.

Bryan Morton and Brad McNish were convicted in April 2018

Bryan Morton, left, and Brad McNish are seeking to have their convictions overturned. Both officers are currently suspended without pay from the Calgary Police Service. (Meghan Grant/CBC)

Two of three Calgary police officers found guilty of corruption-related offences and sentenced to time behind bars have filed appeals, asking the province's top court to overturn their convictions or at least lower their sentences. 

Bryan Morton, 35, and Brad McNish, 61, were found to have participated in a lengthy harassment campaign, designed to frighten and frustrate a local mother into giving up custody rights to her daughter. 

Anthony Braile, 50, was also convicted but was sentenced to 90 days in jail to be served on weekends and has not filed an appeal.

Morton was sentenced to 30 months in prison for his crimes while McNish was sentenced to six months in jail. 

Braile was the whistleblower. Because of his co-operation with police and prosecutors, he was given a significant reduction in sentence by Alberta Court of Queen's Bench Justice Bryan Mahoney.

'Trial judge erred'

Morton cited 16 grounds of appeal in his notice while McNish listed 19, many of which overlapped, including the plan to argue that the trial judge misunderstood the evidence.

Both men also argued through appeal lawyers Alias Sanders and Andrea Serink that the trial judge should have granted a mistrial. 

"The trial judge erred by denying the mistrial application or any other remedy despite the receipt of new disclosure provided post-conviction," read the notices of appeal.

McNish and Morton also said they should have qualified for a conditional sentence, which would mean they would serve their time in the community.

"The sentencing judge imposed a sentence that is excessive and unduly harsh," argue both appellants. 

Akele Taylor's ex, Ken Carter, hired a private investigation firm to stalk her for two years in order to gain custody of their daughter. (Instagram/Supplied)

GPS tracker on victim's car

The case centres around the breakup, hostile relationship and bitter custody battle between Akele Taylor and Ken Carter.

Carter, a wealthy businessman, hired an unlicensed private investigation firm run by former police officer Steve Walton and his wife. The Waltons used the services of current and former Calgary police officers, including Morton, McNish and Braile

For nearly two years, Taylor was followed and harassed — a GPS tracker was placed on her car and her friends were offered money in exchange for dirt on the single mother.

The surveillance was designed to intimidate Taylor, evoke a sense of powerlessness and highlight the imbalance of power between the victim and Carter, said Mahoney in delivering his sentencing decision earlier this month.

The Waltons also paid the officers to search for information on internal Calgary Police Service databases.

Taylor testified she felt paranoid, anxious and fearful, believing the police would not help her. 

Suspended without pay

Braile and Morton were convicted of bribery, harassment and unauthorized use of a computer system. Morton also faced a guilty verdict on a charge of breach of trust.

McNish was found guilty of unauthorized use of a computer system and breach of trust.

The Waltons and Ken Carter were also convicted of offences related to the harassment of Taylor and face a separate sentencing hearing.

It's not yet known when Morton and McNish's appeal arguments will be heard. 

Braile was fired in 2016 for an unrelated incident.

Morton and McNish are currently suspended without pay from the Calgary Police Service. The professional standards section of CPS will conduct an internal investigation after court proceedings have concluded to determine if the officers should be fired. 

About the Author

Meghan Grant

CBC Calgary reporter

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