Calgary

Former officer facing criminal harassment trial sues Calgary Police Service

A former Calgary police officer and his wife at the centre of a corruption probe that resulted in criminal charges against them are suing the force, alleging they were victims of defamation and that their Charter rights were violated.

Lawsuit alleges the Waltons' business suffered. None of the allegations has been proven in court

A former Calgary police officer and his wife at the centre of a corruption probe that resulted in criminal charges against them are suing the force, alleging they were victims of defamation and that their Charter rights were violated.

Steve Walton, who was with the Calgary Police Service from 1978 to 2003, and his wife, Heather, who was a civilian employee with CPS from 1990 to 2003, operated a private investigation firm.

Their company contracted former and current police officers to do surveillance and security guard jobs.

After a probe by the Calgary Police Service, investigators arrested and charged the Waltons in June 2016, alleging they had been illegally using the CPS computer system — in co-operation with current members of the force — to gather information for their private clients.

Former officer Steve Walton, and his wife Heather, are suing the Calgary Police Service. (getthedopeondope.com )

Steve Walton was charged with criminal harassment, bribing an officer, perjury and improper storage of a firearm. Heather Walton was charged with criminal harassment, bribery and improper storage of a firearm.

Const. Bryan Morton and Sgt. Bradford McNish were also arrested. They were charged with criminal harassment, breach of trust, bribery and unauthorized use of a computer system. 

The trials against the Waltons, Morton and McNish are slated to begin in February 2018.

Couple suing for $5.5 million

Meanwhile, the Waltons are suing for $5.5 million, and Morton is suing for $750,000. The lawsuit alleges the Waltons' business suffered because of misconduct by the police, resulting in them losing clients. 

None of the allegations has been proven in court.

The defendants have not yet filed a statement of defence, and the Calgary Police Service has declined to comment, saying it's before the courts.

The harassment allegations stem from work done for a client of the Waltons in 2014. Investigators believe they engaged the services of three current CPS members to unlawfully follow, watch and harass a woman involved in a child custody battle with the client.

A statement of claim filed on Friday on behalf of Heather and Stephen Walton, as well as Morton, alleges that all three suffered numerous violations of their constitutional rights and were victims of defamation when they were detained on two occasions in 2015 and 2016 and ultimately charged.

Waltons detained at busy downtown restaurant

The CPS members named in the suit — which includes several members of the anti-corruption unit as well as police chief Roger Chaffin — are accused of misconduct on several occasions, including the unlawful seizure of property when the Waltons' house was searched, illegally obtaining data from cellphones and conducting interrogations despite the plaintiff's request for legal counsel.

During both detentions of Heather Walton, it's alleged CPS members refused to let her take prescribed anti-anxiety medication, causing her to have "symptoms of anxiety, including dry heaving, confusion, and being terrified."

The lawsuit also accuses CPS of acting out of animus toward the Waltons rather than for legitimate policing reasons.

According to the suit, Heather Walton had been sexually harassed by a supervisor in 1999, which led to an investigation, which in turn caused "some or all of the CPS members to develop animus toward Heather."

It's also alleged that the first detention of the Waltons at a busy downtown restaurant in August 2015 was unlawful and humiliating, violating their privacy rights under Section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Former Calgary police officer Anthony Braile is also named as a defendant in the lawsuit. (Google+)

Fired officer named as a defendent

Anthony Braile — who was fired by the Calgary police in February for professional misconduct relating to a 2008 high-speed chase — was also charged with criminal harassment, breach of trust and bribery in connection to work he did for the Waltons' firm.

Braile is also named as a defendant in the lawsuit, accused of providing false information to CPS investigators about the Waltons. His trial is also slated to begin in February 2018.

The specialized prosecution branch of the Edmonton Crown's office is handling the case to avoid a conflict because of the involvement of local police officers.

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