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UPDATE: Cracks show in testimony of ex-wife of former Vernon Mountie charged with child porn

Ryan Hampton is escorted from the Vernon courthouse in this file photo from earlier this year.
Image Credit: Global Okanagan (with permission)
July 14, 2015 - 2:30 PM

KELOWNA – The actions and recollections of a woman accusing her ex-husband of downloading child porn in 2013 were put under fire on the second day of his trial this morning, July 14.

Valerie Little, 30, says she caught her ex-husband, former Vernon RCMP officer Ryan Hampton, searching for child porn on a pink laptop computer she says she purchased and set up for him. It wasn’t until 28 days after finding a flash drive containing more than 60 images of child pornography that she decided to go to police.

Hampton's lawyer, Jason Tarnow, told the court she spent those 28 days trying to coerce him to give up custody of their three young children.

Hampton pleaded not guilty to counts of possessing and accessing child pornography, six counts of breach of undertaking for contacting Little when ordered not to, and one count of attempting to obstruct justice by telling her not to contact police.

Tarnow said she is setting him up and told Justice Barry Davies during opening statements she first started planning ways to make his client look bad when he began trying to get his life together.

“He was significantly addicted to heroin, cocaine and alcohol. Because of his addictions, his work suffered tremendously and his home life was full of turmoil. He was a vulnerable mess of an addict and Miss Little preferred it that way,” he said.

The Supreme Court trial began Monday, July 13, with Tarnow calling Little, herself an RCMP member, to the stand. On Tuesday he again accused her of manufacturing the entire story.

Court heard some of Little’s testimony has indeed changed since she first spoke with investigators almost one month after she says she found the drive.

She told the court Monday she found Hampton searching for “child porn” on an internet browser in June 2012 and the following March she found him in the basement looking at pictures of girls that were being depicted as underage. But in a police statement 28 days after she says she found the drive, she said she saw him searching for “child porn” in July.

“When I gave the statement I was very emotional… and trying to explain a lot of stuff,” she said. “I can’t explain it…. I’m getting my dates mixed up.”

Tarnow showed Davies a copy of a statement Little gave in which the investigating officer noted that Little called him hours after their interview, saying she forgot to tell him something.

“What I forgot to mention, when I saw those images the two times in July with the women depicted younger, I could see in the search bar he was searching for child porn the first time,” she told the investigator.

Tarnow says she did not forget but instead was refining her story after hearing forensic investigators would examine the laptop.

“You likely racked your mind for a couple hours (about) what the forensic analysis on the laptop might recover,” he said. “You called (the sergeant) to make it sound like you accidentlally forgot to mention this. I suggest to you that you’re not telling the truth. There’s no way you could have forgotten about these points in your first statement,” Tarnow said. 

Court also heard that Little downloaded and installed at least two programs designed to permanently erase information from a computer as well as another program called a keylogger, that secretly saves screen captures.

“You downloaded these videos and tried to cover up your tracks with these three programs,” Tarnow said.

Little said she didn’t have a chance to view any of the screen captures in the three days it was on the computer before Hampton found and removed it. Forensic analysis of the computer, however, shows someone viewed the screen captures and a note included says: “This is most likely Valerie Hampton.”

The defense's barrage continued when Tarnow submitted a text message Little sent to a friend and co-worker in 2013. In it, she says she was unhappy in the relationship but was still trying to get pregnant with a third child. Little also admitted she lied to Hampton about being on birth control when she became pregnant with their second child.

“As a single mother I can say it’s not easy and it wasn’t the wisest decision but I don’t regret it now. It wasn’t a good decision to make but…” she said.

On Tuesday afternoon, Justice Davies called a voire dire to determine the admissibility of testimony from the sergeant who took the flash drive from Little and then told Hampton that an investigation was imminent.

Sgt. Michael Buxton-Carr was second in comman at the Vernon detachment when Little came in with her two children April 7. She was pregnant and "something was disturbing her," he said.

“She asked me if she, as a member of RCMP, was obligated to report a crime committed by another member of RCMP,” he said. “I said she was… obligated to report any such offences… and Miss Little produced a small USB drive… and put it on the desk. She said she wanted to report her then husband was in possession of child pornography.”

“Miss Little said... we’re dealing with horrible stuff.”

On the drive was 62 photos and four videos of children under the age of 10, some of whom were engaging in sex acts. Sgt. Buxton-Carr took the drive and the two spoke for about 15 minutes. Shortly after she left, he said, Hampton showed up.

“I could tell by looking at him he was quite upset,” he said. “He asked what Valerie wanted and I told him she made some serious allegations.”

Buxton-Carr said Hampton then told him they had been “fighting about this for a while” and asked if she gave him anything. When Buxton-Carr told him about the flash drive Hampton then allegedly said Little had been “holding that over (his) head for a month now.”

Buxton-Carr told him police would examine the drive and look into what device was used to download them as well as what search terms were used to find it.

Hampton said: "'What they’re looking for, they’re going to find,'" Buxton-Carr testified.

“He said he was looking for young women and got kids. I think the words he used were ‘this is just sick shit. It’s not what I was looking for.’”

When asked why he didn’t just delete the photos and videos he responded: “I don’t know. I think I wanted her to find it.”

The trial will continue Wednesday morning with Buxton-Carr’s cross examination.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw at aproskiw@infonews.ca or call 250-718-0428. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

— This story was updated at 5 p.m. July 14, 2015, with information from the afternoon session.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
InfoTel News Ltd

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