Trial coming to an end for former RCMP officer accused of downloading child porn

Ryan Hampton is escorted from the Vernon courthouse in this file photo from earlier this year.
Image Credit: Global Okanagan (with permission)

KELOWNA - A former RCMP officer accused of possessing child pornography will soon find out his fate.

Closing arguments were made Wednesday, Sept. 16, in the Supreme Court trial of former RCMP officer Ryan David Hampton, who is accused by his wife of downloading child porn during a messy separation.

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

Hampton’s then-wife Valerie Little, herself a member of the RCMP since 2009, admits their relationship was coming to an end but that she didn’t decide to leave him until she found pornography of underage children on an external drive in April 2013.

Nearly one month later Little took the drive to her detachment in Vernon and told Sgt. Michael Buxton-Carr of several instances of him looking at inappropriate images on their two household computers.

Hampton was arrested later that day.

Defence lawyer Jason Tarnow says Little downloaded the images herself in an attempt to frame him and take sole custody of their three young children as well as their house.

“Miss Little is not a credible witness,” he told Justice Barry Davies. “She tried to present herself as a novice with computers… but she is far from being a novice. She has a varied skill set when it comes to computers.”

Throughout the course of the trial that started in July, Little has appeared on the stand, as did Hampton's first wife and a number of other RCMP officers who either knew the defendant and his wife or who participated in the investigation. Hampton himself was called to the stand during a voire dire, however Davies ruled his testimony inadmissible.

Tarnow’s closing arguments focused on who had possession of the external flash drive on the date forensic experts testified the images were downloaded.

Little testified she took the drive from Hampton’s bookshelf on April 4 after Hampton came home after working a night shift for the RCMP. Records show he hadn’t worked a night shift since April 3. The forensic expert says the images were downloaded on April 4 and 5.

“It doesn’t add up,” Tarnow says.

The expert also testified and Little admitted to downloading three programs designed to erase internet browsing history. She says it was done to speed up a computer she claims to have bought for Hampton only months before.

“There would be little need to put one, two or three programs on it to speed it up,” Tarnow says. “Suspicion should be raised when she downloads and installs these programs designed to cover her tracks.”

Davies hammered Tarnow for much of the day with questions of why Little would frame the man she relies on for child support and whether or not all images and videos were downloaded by Hampton. He did, however, admit Little's testmony was far from reliable.

“She was not an impressive witness,” he says. “She clearly had an axe to grind.”

Crown lawyer Claire Ducluzeau will give her closing arguments Wednesday afternoon. Davies will make his decision in the coming days.

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.

Editor's Note in response to allegations from Vernon RCMP Supt. Jim McNamara
Editor’s note: • Watch shifts at the Vernon detachment have fallen to as low as three roadable officers. • The department suffers from chronic understaffing. • Sources, who we trust and who have knowledge of the s

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