Calgary

Calgary officer accused of lying under oath previously charged and disciplined, court docs show

A Calgary police officer who is charged with perjury, accused of lying under oath, has a history of getting into trouble with his employer, CBC News has learned.

Const. Joe Barton has been suspended with pay from CPS

Const. Joe Barton is accused of lying under oath in connection with his family court case and is charged with three counts of perjury. The officer has a history of getting in trouble with police and is currently suspended. (Facebook)

A Calgary police officer who is charged with perjury, accused of lying under oath, has a history of getting into trouble with his employer, CBC News has learned. 

Last week, Const. Joe Barton was charged with three counts of perjury connected to his highly contentious and hostile family court proceedings with his ex-wife.

The charges stem from two sworn affidavits and testimony given under oath at a court hearing which contradicted evidence given by an RCMP officer.

Considered a crime of dishonesty, police officers convicted of those types of offences present a major problem to their services because their credibility when testifying can be attacked during cross-examination. 

Domestic assault charges

At the Calgary Courts Centre, the former couple's divorce and family court proceedings take up two boxes and include hundreds of documents made up of thousands of pages.

Those documents show the six-year member of the Calgary Police Service was disciplined last year, losing a week's worth of pay, for illegally searching his ex-wife's name using internal police databases.

Barton was given an office job after being disciplined, the documents suggest.

In 2017, the officer was charged with domestic assault although those charges were ultimately withdrawn.

The court documents also provide more details on Barton's perjury charges.

Barton ordered to pay $500 

In February 2019, during a visitation drop-off, Barton was served with documents by his ex-wife requiring him to appear in court the next month.

On March 8, Barton's former spouse, Nikaela Lutzer, appeared in court but he did not show up. She was awarded $500 in costs by the judge.

But Barton pushed back, writing a letter to the judge claiming he'd never been served. 

In an affidavit, Barton alleged his ex "failed to notify me of the court date and convinced the court in a fraudulent manner to gain financial control and be malicious and vexatious against me."

Lutzer had filed an affidavit of service, a sworn document confirming Barton had received the paperwork.

A judge ordered a hearing, during which witnesses, including Barton and an RCMP officer, testified.

ASIRT investigator in gallery

ASIRT began the investigation April 11, 2019.

Documents from the former couple's family court files show an ASIRT investigator was in court during Barton's testimony.

Barton denied receiving the documents but an RCMP officer happened to have attended the CPS officer's Airdrie home that same day because of a contentious custody exchange. 

Court documents identify the officer as one who testified at the hearing, which dealt with Barton's claims not to have been served. 

After three witnesses were called, the judge dismissed Barton's claim and ordered him to pay the $500. 

Barton the victim, says lawyer

Defence lawyer Cory Wilson says Barton is the "victim of calculated and persistent attacks as a result of a highly-contentious divorce."

"These ongoing attacks have irreparably damaged his reputation, both personally and professionally," said Wilson in a written statement to CBC News. 

"Cst. Barton absolutely denies committing perjury and looks forward to being exonerated."

Wilson says Lutzer has also faced criminal charges connected to the couple's hostile split but those charges have been stayed or withdrawn. 

Barton is suspended with pay but that will be reviewed in the coming weeks, according to CPS.

CBC News reached out to Lutzer, who declined to comment while their various cases are still before the courts. 

Barton's next court appearance is in July.

About the Author

Meghan Grant

CBC Calgary reporter

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