Calgary

Calgary business man who paid $1M to harass ex-girlfriend sentenced to 3 years in prison

Wealthy Calgary businessman Ken Carter is going to prison, eight years after he paid a company $1-million to harass his ex-girlfriend with the goal of terrorizing her into giving him their child during a bitter breakup and custody dispute.

Ken Carter plans to appeal his conviction and sentence

Ken Carter, hired a private investigation firm to stalk his ex Akele Taylor for two years in order to gain custody of their daughter. He was sentenced to three years in prison. (Instagram/Supplied)

Wealthy Calgary businessman Ken Carter is going to prison, eight years after he paid a company $1-million to harass his ex-girlfriend with the goal of terrorizing her into giving him their child during a bitter breakup and custody dispute.

On Tuesday, Court of Queen's Bench Justice Glen Poelmam sentenced Carter to three years in prison.

Carter will appeal his sentence and conviction, according to defence lawyer Gavin Wolch, who says his client will also ask to be released on bail pending appeal.

Carter, 59, was convicted of criminal harassment in 2018. Two retired Calgary Police Service employees and three current and former officers were also found guilty of various offences connected to the stalking of Akele Taylor. 

The harassment of Taylor "went far beyond a parent having legitimate concern over the welfare, custody and access to a child," said Poelman in sentencing Carter.

Poelman also pointed out that Carter has continued to paint himself as the victim in the case and has yet to acknowledge the harm he did to Taylor, who had a legitimate fear for her safety.

In August 2012, Taylor and Carter broke up shortly after she gave birth to their daughter.

Carter then hired retired CPS drug expert Steve Walton and his wife Heather, who were running an unlicensed private investigation firm, to follow and harass Taylor.

The Waltons' employees included current and former police officers. Their tactics involved paying officers to search CPS internal databases for information to assist in their harassment campaign.

Carter's lawyer argued he was motivated by fear that his daughter was at risk because he felt Taylor was an unfit parent.

Former Calgary Police Service employees Heather and Steve Walton were convicted in the harassment case involving Ken Carter and CPS officers. (Meghan Grant/CBC)

But text messages between Carter and the Waltons reveal a different motive.

Carter repeatedly referred to Taylor as "the reptile." He said he wanted to "push her over the edge" and create a "black hole so powerful it will suck her into oblivion."

"Those communications do not indicate fear," said Poelman. Rather, they show Carter had animus toward Taylor.

"He has not acknowledged he is the offender and Ms. Taylor is the victim of his acts."

Weeks before the trial, Taylor disappeared and never testified against Carter despite Canada-wide warrants being issued. She told the lead detective she no longer wanted to see Carter convicted. 

Carter was sentenced nearly two years after his conviction because he travelled to Russia after he was found guilty and was hospitalized, missing three scheduled sentencing hearings.

In his sentencing arguments, Wolch said his client suffers from a heart condition, anxiety and stress and should not be put at further risk in a group living situation.

Wolch asked the judge to consider allowing Carter to serve his sentence at home.

Prosecutor Katherine Love had proposed a four- to five-year prison term for Carter.

Bryan Morton, Brad McNish and Tony Braile were convicted of corruption-related offences connected to the harassment and stalking of Akele Taylor. (Meghan Grant/CBC)

Heather Walton was convicted of bribing an officer while her husband was found guilty of the same charge as well as criminal harassment.

In October, Steve Walton was handed a three-year sentence while Heather Walton received a 15-month term, which she will be allowed to serve in the community under strict conditions, including 24-hour house arrest.

In April 2018, current and former CPS officers Bryan Morton, Brad McNish and Tony Braile were convicted of corruption-related offences.

Morton was sentenced to 30 months in prison while McNish received a six month jail term. Anthony Braile was also convicted, but he was sentenced to 90 days in jail to be served on weekends.

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story stated in the headline that the sentence was four years. In fact, Calgary businessman Ken Carter was sentenced to three years in prison.
    Aug 04, 2020 12:40 PM MT

About the Author

Meghan Grant

CBC Calgary reporter

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

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