Respected community leader found guilty of perjury
A prominent leader in Toronto's Jamaican community has been found guilty of perjuring herself at her son's bail hearing.
Valerie Steele was found guilty Tuesday for lying in court when she testified that her son Richard had complied with his bail conditions.
Police provided the court with wiretaps as proof that the woman had lied. The conversations were taped in April 2006 and were administered because the police were investigating whether Richard had a connection to the Boxing Day shooting in Toronto that left a 15-year-old innocent bystander dead.
The wiretaps also revealed some other details. In one conversation, Steele, who at one point was a provincial-appointed judge with the now defunct landlord-tenant tribunal, is heard promising a friend preferential treatment.
"When you come...don't tell anybody you know me, don't pay any attention to me, you know what I mean?" she is heard telling her friend.
In another conversation, Steele is heard complaining about the police with fellow activist Dudley Laws.
"(The police) are liars Dudley. You think they're nice? They're wicked," she said. "That's why some of them will die a bad death you know. People are going to put bullets in their heads."
Steele was once in serious consideration for appointment to the Toronto Police Services Board.
Steele's family and friends were steadfast in their support of the community leader. Some accused the police of unfairly targeting her.
"What I can say is that we put up a vigorous defence," said Aston Hall, Steele's lawyer. "There was a judgement. We're going to take a good look at it and we're going to study our options."
Steele will return to court in September for sentencing.
With a report from CTV Toronto's Chris Eby