Lawyers for two Calgary police officers convicted in corruption case argue their appeals

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Kevin Martin

Alberta’s top court heard arguments Thursday on why convictions against two Calgary officers in a police corruption case should be overturned.

Defence counsel Alias Sanders and Yoav Niv presented submissions on behalf of Bryan Morton, while lawyer Andrea Serink argued Brad McNish’s convictions should also be ruled invalid.

Much of Sanders’ and Niv’s submissions before a three-member Alberta Court of Appeal panel focused on the character of co-accused and whistleblower Tony Braile and how trial lawyers weren’t provided full disclosure of his background.

Sanders noted information provided by Braile, first to stalking victim Akele Taylor and her lawyer, Clive Llewellyn and then to police was used in an application for a production order against other officers.

But she argued details about Braile’s alleged involvement in a vehicle fraud investigation of members of organized crime as well as an allegation Braile was providing information about search warrants to individuals involved in organized crime weren’t provided to the defence.

“The defence was asking for material relating to Mr. Braile,” Sanders told the appeal judges.

“He had a history of deceiving his superiors.”

She suggested the information pertained to Braile “associating with known gangsters in a business venture” in the alleged fraud scheme and him “tipping off organized criminals to warrants.”

Sanders said having that further information would have been important for the defence challenging the validity of productions orders which garnered evidence against Morton.

But Crown prosecutor Matthew Griener said the allegations were never substantiated and were suspect.

“There was no evidence Mr. Braile was ever charged in relation to that,” Griener said of the fraud investigation, adding the allegation the then-suspended officer was tipping off members of organized crime came from a single confidential informant.

“It’s not uncommon to find spurious information in police files,” he said.

Griener also said the information to obtain the production order sworn by Det. Todd Nichol contained “ample other evidence from other witnesses, including the complainant, there was a criminal harassment scheme.”

As for McNish, Serink suggested his decision to check to the police databank and provide information to former officer Steve Walton, whose unlicenced private investigation office coordinated the surveillance of the victim, was more a regulatory breach, not a crime.

McNish was convicted of breach of trust and unauthorized use of a police computer database, while Morton was found guilty of those charges as well as criminal harassment and bribery.

McNish was sentenced to six months in jail, while Morton was handed a 30-month penitentiary term.

Both men are free on bail pending sentence appeals.

The appeal judges reserved their decision.

Original Article: https://calgaryherald.com/news/lawyers-for-two-calgary-police-officers-convicted-in-corruption-case-argue-their-appeals