Norma Walton comments on conviction and sentencing
September 19, 2019. Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Nine years ago this month, had Norma Walton known that Dr. Stanley Karl Bernstein had been charged with conspiracy to murder his business partner; had she known that his two co-accused were convicted at trial; had she known that he had been charged with possession of $2 million worth of stolen goods; and had she known about his history of vicious and destructive litigation, she would have rejected his request to become partners. Now all that information is readily available on Wikipedia. Back then it was hidden.
That fateful decision has caused her to lose her reputation, her home, her business, her income, her properties, her money, her ability to rebuild, her license to practice law, her ability to take her sons to out-of-province hockey tournaments, and thousands of hours of her time. That fateful decision has caused her parents and her mother-in-law to mortgage their homes to pay over $1 million in criminal defence bills. That fateful decision is one that she will regret for the rest of her life.
Her theft conviction relates to $1,265,000 that Norma withdrew in 2013 as a shareholders’ loan from two companies she co-owned with her ex-partner. The parties had withdrawn shareholder loans before in various amounts. She personally guaranteed the loan. At the time, their joint portfolio was worth $330 million. Upon Dr. Bernstein complaining about the loan, she repaid the $1,265,000 plus another $435,000 within 30 days to provide a surplus to pay upcoming bills. Two and a half years later she was arrested and charged with theft over $5,000.
The police disclosure shows that between 2014 and 2016, her ex-partner paid a former fraud squad officer as one of his personal private investigators; he paid his CFO; he paid his litigation lawyers; he paid his inspectors; and he paid his receivers, all to go to the police to urge and convince them to lay criminal charges against Norma. As many as three Bernstein lawyers a day were in court assisting the Crown throughout the 4 ½ week trial. As many as two lawyers a day were in court during the sentencing hearing. He spent more than $10 million in pursuit of criminal conviction.
Norma regrets the mistakes she has made. She is heartbroken for her children, her husband and her parents. She is worried about how her children will be emotionally and financially supported. She is distraught by what the immediate future will hold. She is disillusioned and disappointed by the justice system given its failure to prevent its monied manipulation for malevolent ends.
Norma has been touched by those people who have reached out to her and to her husband to provide their best wishes at such a difficult time. She appreciates the hugs she has received. She is even more grateful for how her children’s friends, school mates, teammates, their parents, the children’s coaches, the children’s teachers and the children’s principals have rallied around them to protect them. She is humbled by everyone’s support.
Norma is appealing the conviction in this matter. Michael Lacy is representing her in the appeal.