“Unf*ck the system.” Alberta’s Neanderthal “Justice” system assaults sexual assault victims. “The judge in this troubling case was none other than former Deputy Justice Minister Ray Bodnarek, a PC loyalist appointed as a judge by former PC Justice Minister Jonathan Denis who himself resigned under troubling allegations of domestic violence.” Commenter: “So who exactly is the crown protecting by blocking the publication of the victim’s name?” Another commenter: “My guess…..the ‘system’. It stinks and it’s all because of the judges & lawyers.”

Two of the comments to articles included below:

“I’m disgusted! There is far to much racism in the judicial system from the police right up to the judges! Pathetic!”

“To be an indigenous person in Canada is to be a second-class citizen, but to be an indigenous person and a woman must be even less than that.”

Above snap from Avnish Nanda’s Twitter June 6, 2017

Canada’s Tax System Is Still Subsidizing the Ultra Rich, Costly loopholes continue to benefit the one per cent, but little is done

Every year, the richest 10 per cent get tax breaks of almost $58 billion. Those breaks have an impact on our capacity to deliver the services that make Canada a great place to live: health care, child care and education.

Plugging loopholes could pay for those things. Yet year after year, politicians say we can’t afford them — all the while ignoring the growing gap between the very wealthy and the rest of us.

***

‘Great unfairness’: 2 more sex assault cases where victims were jailed to ensure their court testimony, A victim 8 months pregnant was jailed the night before she was to testify by Janice Johnston, CBC News, Jul 28, 2017

A 16-year-old girl was shackled and jailed in the same courthouse cell block as the man who sexually assaulted her.

Starlite was 16 when she was shackled and penned in a holding cell behind an Edmonton courtroom, where she stared at the man who had sexually assaulted her at knifepoint.

Susan, a drug addict and street prostitute, was eight months pregnant when she was forced to spend the night in the remand centre before testifying against the man accused of sexually assaulting and robbing her.

The treatment the two victims received at the hands of the Alberta justice system comes to light two months after CBC News reported a similar case that led to a provincial review.

The two new cases suggest a troubling pattern in the way the courts treat victims in such cases, says one of Edmonton’s top criminal defence lawyers.

“I have seen a number of cases that have been disturbing in terms of how some of the witnesses are treated,” said Brian Beresh, who pointed out that Starlite and Susan were both marginalized victims, unlikely to have access to legal advice, family or community support.

“Particularly in terms of their rights, particularly in terms of their liberty. What appears to be first at issue is getting a conviction. I think that when that drives the process, it can result in great unfairness to individuals.”

Both victims’ names are protected by publication bans.

After reviewing the files, Alberta Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley issued a brief written statement to CBC News.

“While pursuing justice, we must ensure that victims of crime are treated with dignity, compassion and respect,” the statement said. “We have asked a special committee to look into policies and procedures around ensuring that victims are supported and respected through the justice system. I am asking that committee to take these cases into consideration.”

That special committee was assigned in early June to review policies and procedures after CBC News revealed the court’s treatment of sex assault victim Angela Cardinal.

The three cases highlight a gap in the justice system [What “justice” system? Canada only has a prohibitively expensive “legal” system], said Deb Tomlinson, a member of the committee who is also CEO of the Association of Alberta Sexual Assault Services.

“There is no legal counsel there to speak on behalf of the rights and the wishes of the victim,” she said. “I think that’s our challenge, and certainly where the problems occur.”

‘Halfway through, I just stopped fighting’

On a mild Saturday night in May 2011, Starlite and her group-home girlfriend decided to go drinking. A man drove them to an apartment rented by Ali Hassan Saeed.

Starlite was drunk after downing 10 shots of vodka from a “sparkly shot glass” over two hours. She fell asleep in one of the bedrooms. When she woke up, her friend and driver were gone.

She said Saeed tried to block her from leaving the apartment, but she managed to get outside.

“He pushed me to the ground and we started rolling around,” she said in an interview with CBC News. “He started to hit me and ripped my clothes off. I got him one good shot to the side of his face with my heel, and that got him more angry.”

Eventually, Starlite gave up.

“I started crying. And halfway through, I just stopped fighting,” she said. “Let him do what he had to do.”

She was initially reluctant to report what had happened, but a police officer eventually convinced her to go to a medicentre for a rape kit. Hassan was arrested and charged with aggravated sexual assault.

‘He had sex with me without my permission’

First scheduled to testify in December 2012, Starlite was arrested the night before for allegedly breaching a court order. According to facility records, she spent two nights in custody at the Edmonton Young Offender Centre, and then was released without testifying.

When Saeed’s trial resumed in January 2013, Starlite was again arrested on the eve of her testimony, again for the same reason. Her testimony spanned two days, but she spent a total of six nights in custody at the young offender facility.

“He had sex with me without my permission,” she testified during the trial. “I just wanted to pretend it didn’t happen.”

Later, after she spent time near her attacker in the courthouse holding cells, Starlite decided she did not want Saeed to be convicted.

I’m in custody, he’s in custody,” she explained to the court. “I don’t want to go through with this, and I don’t want to charge him. Because I believe everyone deserves a second chance. I’ve thought about it all last night. I didn’t even sleep.”

Tomlinson said placing Starlite in the same cell block with her attacker was wrong.

“We have to ensure that does not happen,” Tomlinson said. “I think we need to put policies and protocols in place that witnesses who are victims, and in particular vulnerable victims, are not placed in proximity to the alleged offender.”

Ultimately, Justice Doreen Sulyma convicted Saeed of aggravated sexual assault and sentenced him to five years in prison.

Sulyma also took note of Starlite’s apparent change of heart.

“I am of the view that her empathy for this accused as a fellow in cells, my words, very much drove her position on cross-examination.”

Starlite returned to court in February 2013 to deliver her victim impact statement.

“Due to the effects from the rape, I had very low self-esteem,” she told court, according to the transcript. “I felt sad, angry, worthless and upset. I felt lost and confused. I felt hopeless and anxious that it’ll happen again. I feel embarrassed, vulnerable, violated and alone.”

8 months pregnant, victim was jailed

Ryan James White was charged with attacking three street prostitutes between December 2010 and December 2011.

Susan was one of them.

The 24-year old street prostitute was supposed to testify at White’s trial in September 2015. When she failed to show up, the judge issued a warrant for her arrest.

She was nearly eight months pregnant when police went to her home and took her into custody just before midnight.

Susan, who did not respond to requests for an interview, was not forced to share a cell block with her accused attacker, because he was free on bail.

She told the court she got “zero” sleep at the Edmonton Remand Centre. “I didn’t show up last week, because I woke up and I couldn’t walk,” she testified. “I think the baby’s getting on a nerve or something, because my legs just don’t work some days.”

‘He grabbed my throat’

During the trial, she testified about two encounters with White. Both times she said she performed oral sex on him, then gave his money back.

During the second encounter, she said: “He grabbed my throat. He wanted his money. I got out of the vehicle and walked.”

She was asked: “Why did you give him his money back?”

“Because,” she said, “he had his big, ugly hand around my throat.”

Beresh, who was White’s defence lawyer, said he was alarmed by the way Susan was treated by the court.

“I was surprised,” he said, “because I was led to believe that this person could not be found and would likely not be called. Then all of a sudden, we learned that she’s been arrested, conveniently the night before she’s to be in court. I’m lost as to why she would be arrested the night before. Except for the convenience of the prosecution, as opposed to the morning of court. [Perhaps abusing sexual assault victims, notably if they are women, gives misogynistic judges perverse pleasures?]

“It seemed like no one took her personal interests into account at all.”

White was later convicted of robbing Susan and of sexually assaulting two other street prostitutes.

He and Saeed were both prosecuted by then Crown prosecutor Avril Inglis, who was appointed a Court of Queen’s Bench justice in June 2016.

Inglis declined CBC’s request for an interview.

Starlite recently told CBC News her life spiralled out of control after she testified. She began using methamphetamine and experimented with injection drugs.

“I started going into escorting,” she said. “I’m an addict. Homeless, right now.”

The 21-year-old is currently on a waiting list for a drug rehab bed.

Unlawful remand: the wrongful jailing of a sexual assault victim by Steven Penney, June 16, 2017, Faculty of Law, University of Alberta

Sex assault victim jailed after Crown, police refused to pick up hotel bill, ‘I think at the end of the day it’s not really whether she minds or not,’ Crown told judge by Janice Johnston, CBC News, Jun 15, 2017

A homeless sex assault victim who was jailed while testifying against her attacker could have stayed in a hotel, but no one was willing to pick up the tab, CBC News has learned.

Angela Cardinal was attacked and sexually assaulted by Lance Blanchard in June 2014.

During the preliminary hearing a year later, Cardinal was remanded into custody at the Edmonton Remand Centre for five nights at the request of Crown prosecutor Patricia Innes, who feared she would not return the next day to testify.

Cardinal was shackled at times and was forced to travel in a prison van with the man who attacked her.

‘I’m the victim and I’m in shackles’: Edmonton woman jailed while testifying against her attacker

Question of race in sex assault victim’s jailing ‘keeps me up at night,’ Alberta justice minister says

Alberta’s chief judge will examine case of jailed sexual assault victim

Cardinal’s treatment by the justice system, first reported by CBC News, is now the subject of two reviews ordered by Alberta Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley.

Cardinal is not the woman’s real name. Her name is covered by a publication ban even though the Cree woman, originally from Maskwacis, south of Edmonton, died in an unrelated, accidental shooting months after testifying at Blanchard’s preliminary hearing.

The Edmonton Police Service paid for Cardinal to spend two nights in a hotel room in June 2015. With a weekend approaching, Innes met with police to discuss more hotel time for the witness.

The Crown prosecutor met with Det. Marci Koshowski to discuss the hotel option, and the officer recounted the conversation to her partner, Det. Erich Reule.

The exchange was captured on audiotape later entered as evidence at Blanchard’s trial.

Koshowski: I know the Crown isn’t going to pay for putting her up in a hotel. And you know we can’t as EPS.

Reule: So they don’t do that?

K: No.

R: Oh, OK.

K: Well, I don’t say they don’t, but not over the weekend, right?

R: Oh, OK.

The next day, Innes asked provincial court Judge Ray Bodnarek to put Cardinal in jail. The judge agreed.

Blanchard’s lawyer, Tom Engel, had a front-row seat to all the proceedings.

“I don’t know if it came down to money,” Engel said in an interview.

“What’s a hotel cost? Like 90, 100 bucks a night. We’re talking about a hotel on Friday, Saturday, Sunday. So 300 bucks.

“Did it come down to 300 bucks?”

At a news conference last week, Ganley was asked if money might have played a role in the decisions made. She said she hoped not.

“I would like to think that economics played no part in this particular decision,” Ganley said. “But obviously there were some really troubling decisions made in this case, so it’s difficult to speak to why this happened.”

Decision could have been about control

Engel has repeatedly referred to jailing Cardinal as “an illegal detention.” But he doubts that finances were the sole reason.

“Assuming, for the sake of the discussion, that the Crown and the police did refuse to pay for it,” Engel said. “I have no idea why they would make such a decision. I mean, if it was just about the money, that just seems absurd.”

Engel is convinced the prosecutor was determined to get a conviction.

“My concern is that it was [about] quite a bit more than money,” he said.

“It was to have her jailed so they would have complete control of her — get her ready to testify and deprive her from any access to drugs, so that she’d be a much better witness. I have a really hard time thinking that it was all about the money. Because like I say, the money is peanuts.

“To me, the prime objective here was to get a conviction on Blanchard. And anything that stood in the way of that was not particularly important.”

Complaint from Crown prosecutors

CBC News obtained a copy of a letter the Alberta Crown Attorneys’ Association sent Ganley on June 6, the day after the justice minister held a news conference to announce two investigations into the Cardinal case. In the four-page letter, association president James Pickard vigorously defended decisions made by Innes in the case. [!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!]

“As we understand it, Ms. Innes consulted colleagues before making her decision and showed considerable concern for the victim, including exhausting all alternative steps, before seeking the detention order,” Pickard wrote. [Ms Innes needs to be fired, ASAP, along with all those “vigorously” defending her vile decisions. Let them experience what they did to another. Perhaps then, will they learn some humanity and humility]

Defence lawyer Engel questioned whether “all alternative steps” were, in fact, exhausted.

On the day she asked the judge to remand Cardinal, Innes told the judge: “If we turn her back after today to her own devices I can probably guarantee, short of having an officer essentially handcuff himself to her, she won’t be here unless the officers are lucky enough to find her again. It’s in the public interest that she be here to testify.” [Is it in the public interest to break the law?]

After Cardinal spent the weekend in custody, it became clear she was not happy about the situation. When she returned to court on Monday, the hearing was interrupted by her wails of anguish in the cells next to the courtroom.

But the prosecutor was resolute. “I think at the end of the day, it’s not really whether she minds or not,” Innes told the judge. “It’s more what’s in the interests of these proceedings.”

Alice Woolley, president of the Canadian Association for Legal Ethics, said she’s troubled by many aspects of the Cardinal case.

“What really bothers me about this case is that this is an exercise of enormous consequences for this young woman,” Woolley said. “And we did not follow, in my view, the procedures that are required to do that right.”

She noted that no evidence was presented to the court to support the Crown’s request to remand Cardinal. [Of course not!  It happened in an Alberta court room!]

“There were statements made by the lawyer,” she said. “But a lawyer is not a witness. They’re not under oath, and in fact a lawyer is not permitted to give evidence in a hearing. They have an ethical obligation not to be what they call an unsworn witness. So you have a case here where this order was issued based only on statements by the Crown counsel.”

Next steps

Woolley has made a submission to the investigator appointed by Ganley to look into the case. She also forwarded her submission to provincial court Chief Judge Terry Matchett and to the Law Society of Alberta.

She said Matchett should look at whether Judge Bodnarek properly exercised his responsibilities, while the law society should see “whether the lawyers who are involved also did what they were supposed to do in this case.”

In the letter to Ganley, the Alberta Crown Attorneys’ Association conceded, “It is not clear whether the detention of the complainant throughout her testimony, once she became co-operative, was in accordance with [the Criminal Code].”

Comment by Julie Ali June 9, 2017, to GlobalNews

There needs to be more than an investigation but this is Alberta and I guess there will be money spent to prettify what can’t be justified in any way and we will all go back to sleep again.

Very poor performance by the justice system and troubling that this appears to be selective treatment. Would a well off woman from Riverbend, Edmonton be subject to this sort of abuse of power? Doubtful.

I guess we don’t need an investigation to see the preferential treatment meted out to the poor, the homeless, those with mental health issues and who are aboriginal. This is merely a more blatant case of the other abuses in the system that are present.

The PCs for example created a Trespass to Premises legislation that also allows abuse. Why are families separated from loved ones in continuing care with the use of this banning law? I guess when there is an imbalance of power, folks in government and their associated bodies in health care/ continuing care can do whatever they want to do and these matters are all made legal by government itself.

There is no justice in this case or in the cases of banning where families have no voice. We can see that government is a shell of what it is meant to be in a democracy. A sort of shell within a shell and all of these shells must be revealed as the delicate fragile concoctions they are so that we can create a more durable machinery that serves the people.

In this case, justice was not served. A woman’s human rights were ignored. The government of Alberta is revealed as it is–unfair in its creation of laws. the justice system is revealed as it is–an inequitable body that uses laws to abuse the rights of the poor. And we are revealed as we are–as bystanders in the accident of DeMockracy.

Family angry over treatment of Alberta sexual assault victim: ‘She didn’t do anything wrong’  by John Cotter, The Canadian Press, June 6, 2017, Global News

The family of a sexual assault victim who was jailed and shackled while testifying against her attacker is angry about how she was treated by Alberta’s justice system and wants the man to spend the rest of his life in jail. Lance Blanchard was found guilty last year of aggravated sexual assault, kidnapping and unlawful confinement for the 2014 attack.

Relatives of the 28-year-old indigenous homeless woman came face to face with Blanchard on Tuesday during a court hearing over his treatment at the Edmonton Remand Centre.
“It hurts. I want him in jail. I don’t want him out here. I don’t want anybody else to get… raped and beat up,” the woman’s tearful mother said outside court. “I wanted to know why he did that to my baby. Why her? I don’t mean for anybody else for that to happen to them. Why my baby?”

The Crown is seeking to have Blanchard declared a dangerous offender. Blanchard’s lawyer is trying to block the move.

At a 2015 preliminary hearing for Blanchard, a judge agreed with the Crown that the victim should spend five nights in the remand centre during her testimony. The Crown was concerned about her behaviour and whether she would return to court otherwise.

The woman, who was originally from Maskwacis, Alta. and can’t be identified, was shackled and handcuffed during her testimony. On at least two occasions, she had to ride in the same prisoner van as her attacker.

On Monday, Alberta Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley called the case “disturbing and tragic” while announcing two investigations into how the victim was treated. Ganley has apologized to the family.

The mother said the minister’s words gave her no solace.

“It didn’t matter. She is already gone,” the mother said. “She didn’t do anything wrong. She was a happy-go-lucky girl.”

The woman was killed in an unrelated shooting last year. [Ordered killed by our “justice” system to prevent further exposure of the galling truth?]

Family members said they are also angry with the Crown for not allowing the victim’s name to be published. The mother said her daughter was smart and strong, and people should know who she was.

The victim’s sister-in-law said the woman’s relatives still can’t believe how she was treated.
“This shouldn’t have happened — how she was handcuffed, shackled. There were other options. They didn’t try to find the family, saying can she stay here while the trial was going on. They didn’t try to take her to a woman’s shelter.

“They failed her big time.”

The Alberta Judicial Council said Tuesday it had not received any complaints about how provincial court Judge Raymond Bodnarek conducted Blanchard’s 2015 preliminary hearing.

Provincial court Chief Judge Terry Matchett said he has no authority to review decisions made by judges during trials or preliminary hearings, including decisions about keeping a witness in custody, which is allowed under the Criminal Code.

But Matchett said he will look at what happened to determined if anything can be learned.
“I will be conducting a detailed examination of all of the circumstances of this case,” he said in an email.

A different judge who found Blanchard guilty in December expressed regret that the woman was held in custody.

“She was remanded into custody on the mistaken belief that she was ‘a flight risk’ and that she was simply incapable of participating properly in the court proceedings,” Justice Eric Macklin wrote in his ruling released earlier this year.

“Her treatment by the justice system in this respect was appalling.”

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said Tuesday the woman’s treatment “was absolutely unacceptable.”

“The system failed her on a number of different fronts.”

***

Alberta provincial court Judge Ray Bodnarek’s son Sean, a law student and former judicial clerk in Edmonton, has defended his father in a Facebook post about the controversy over how a sexual assault victim was treated.

The post was up for only 24 hours before it was removed Wednesday evening after CBC News asked for comment from him and his father. Originally, Sean Bodnarek made the post public and asked others to share it.

In the now-deleted post, he wrote, “I feel like I must comment on this because it is in defence of my father, who is in short the best person I know. He deserves the title of Honorable as much as any judge in the country. He is being portrayed as a villain and a racist.” [Portrayed, or did his behaviours prove it?]

In June 2015, Judge Bodnarek ordered sex assault victim Angela Cardinal (a pseudonym) into custody at the Edmonton Remand Centre.

The request to issue the order was made by Crown prosecutor Patricia Innes after Cardinal was having difficulty staying awake and focused during her first day on the witness stand at Lance Blanchard’s preliminary hearing.

A decision later issued by Queen’s Bench Justice Eric Macklin questioned the jurisdiction of the lower court judge to incarcerate Cardinal.

Many others have criticized Bodnarek and Innes for the decisions they made. Alberta’s justice minister has ordered a full investigation of the incident.

Sean Bod

Sean Bodnarek

Facebook post from Sean Bodnarek’s account as of Wednesday June 7, 2017. (CBC)

The law student continued with claims that are found nowhere in the transcript of the preliminary hearing. It’s unclear what the source of his information was, since it was not in the public record.

He claimed: “The crown had put her up in a hotel the night before the hearing and she abused methamphetamines the entire night before the trial.”  

Bodnarek then shared what appeared to be his father’s thought process at the time.

“The suggestion that she could spend the weekend with her mother was not an attractive one to my father…. It was all but certain that she would abuse methamphetamine the entire time and would again be in no condition to provide reliable testimony.”

Sean said his father’s decision to remand Cardinal was motivated by the desire for her to “detox over the weekend in a safe setting.”

The transcript from the preliminary hearing showed the judge somewhat reluctantly ordered Cardinal into custody the first time, because she appeared to be unable to answer questions.

The judge was told by the prosecutor and others they did not know why she was so upset and sleepy.

In a later written decision, Queen’s Bench Justice Eric Macklin wrote, “Even though she acknowledged having used crack cocaine for some of the period prior to June 2015, she said she stopped about two and one-half weeks prior to her testimony at the preliminary inquiry. There is no credible evidence to the contrary.”

Judge’s son blames guards

Sean characterized Cardinal’s treatment while in custody as “disgraceful,” referring to her being held in shackles and being forced into close proximity with the man who attacked her.

But, he insisted, “this had nothing to do with my father. My father does not share any blame for this.” [HE ORDERED HER THERE!]

He wrote: “The monumental incompetence, insensitivity and stupidity of the sheriffs and remand guards are wholly to blame for her mistreatment.”

During the preliminary hearing, Judge Bodnarek was told about Cardinal being put into the same prisoner transport van with the man who attacked her. The preliminary transcript showed he said, “I want it clear on the endorsement that they are not transported together.”

The judge also directed a no-contact order between Blanchard and Cardinal.

He also said, “I’m not sure what else we can do, other than just to make sure that the individuals involved in the handling and transport are aware of the necessity to keep her and Mr. Blanchard separate and apart.”

Son rejects suggestions of racism

In his lengthy Facebook post, Sean also defended his father as “the farthest thing from a racist who sympathizes deeply with the most vulnerable in society.” 

Others have suggested Cardinal never would have been incarcerated if she was non-Indigenous.

Sean rejected that suggestion.

“I guarantee my father would have arrived at the same determination if Angela was white, black, aboriginal or any other colour,” he wrote. 

Judge Bodnarek declined comment on his son’s Facebook post, as did Alberta Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley.

Calls made to Sean Bodnarek were not returned.

Alberta’s chief judge will examine case of jailed sexual assault victim, ‘I will be conducting a detailed examination of all of the circumstances of this case’ by Janice Johnston, June 5, 2017, CBC News

CBC asked Crown prosecutor Patricia Innes recently if she would have done anything differently in the case, knowing what she knows now.

“No,” she said. [And that creepily tells us everything we need to know about the “legal” profession in Canada!]

Innes and Goldie declined interview requests.

Comment to the article below

Aaron Gohn · College of New Caledonia, Selkirk College Nelson

The legal system appears to be out of control and completely detached from reality.

‘I want her to be known’: Family, media outlets seek to lift publication ban on identity of sexual assault victim by Paige Parsons, June 6, 2017, Edmonton Journal

The family of a sexual assault victim who was jailed while giving evidence against her attacker — and has since died — is seeking to have a publication ban on her identity removed.

“I want her to be known,” said the woman’s mother, speaking Tuesday outside the Edmonton Law Courts. “The name has to come out.”

The mother was supported at court by her other children and daughter-in-law. The family said they don’t want what happened to be forgotten, and want the justice system held accountable.

“They failed her big time,” the victim’s sister-in-law said.

Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Eric Macklin said Tuesday he would hear the family’s application, but granted Crown prosecutor Patricia Innes time to consider her position.

A lawyer representing the Journal and the CBC was also in court Tuesday requesting the publication ban be lifted.

The family plans to file letters of complaint against provincial court Judge Raymond Bodnarek, who granted the Crown’s request that the indigenous woman be taken into custody during the preliminary hearing against her attacker.

The homeless woman was determined to be a “flight risk” and held in the Edmonton Remand Centre for five nights and shackled while in court to give testimony at a 2015 preliminary hearing. She was sometimes driven back and forth to court in the same prison van as her attacker.

The victim’s sister-in-law said the family made the decision Tuesday after seeing a statement from provincial court Chief Judge Terry Matchett that he cannot conduct a review or issue sanctions because he hasn’t received a complaint of misbehaviour or misconduct against Bodnarek.

Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley has ordered an independent investigation, and tasked a special committee to review the case.

The woman’s attacker, David Lance Blanchard, was eventually found guilty of aggravated sexual assault, kidnapping, unlawful confinement, possession of a weapon, threatening to cause death or bodily harm and breaching conditions of his release. He was acquitted of attempted murder.

Blanchard had dragged the woman inside his apartment and sexually assaulted her in 2014.

Macklin, who presided over Blanchard’s trial, in his decision apologized to the victim, calling the lower court’s treatment of her “appalling.”

The victim never heard the apology, having earlier been killed in an unrelated incident.

When the family arrived in court Tuesday, it was the first time any of them had seen Blanchard, who is applying for a stay of his convictions in the attack.

The mother stopped and stared at Blanchard before taking her seat, and later wiped away tears and shook her head as Blanchard’s lawyer argued his client’s rights have been violated by the living conditions at the remand centre, where he is held in lockup 23 hours a day as a maximum security prisoner.

Blanchard has a long record of convictions for violent and sexual offences. He has not been sentenced in the woman’s case.

The closing arguments in his application were expected to wrap up Wednesday.

Tuesday’s letters: Victim’s treatment shakes faith in justice system by René Pelletier, June 6, 2017, Edmonton Journal

I am writing to all Albertans today out of a sense of profound desperation. I was reading a CBC article about Angela Cardinal, a rape victim, put in jail and kept in shackles for being tired in court.

It is incredibly difficult for women to come forward and testify against their accusers.

The percentage of women who report sexual assault is incredibly low. The whole system punishes women for being a victim. And then this happens. This woman was the victim of a brutal and violent assault and Judge Raymond Bodnarek felt the best way to get a compliant testimony out of her was to put her in jail.

The court chose to treat her like a violent criminal leaving her shackled in the courtroom. Can you imagine any women reading this story and not being afraid of reporting a sexual assault? [Is this why judges abuse victims of sexual assault? Keep hated women out of the legal boys’ club?]

This incident has damaged the confidence of Albertans in the administration of justice beyond repair. The only possible remedy is the removal of Judge Bodnarek from the bench. [And a whole bunch of others, perhaps all of them]

I am calling on the government of Alberta to use all means within their authority to see that Judge Bodnarek is removed from the bench and establish a public inquiry into the treatment of victims of assault, sexual assault and domestic violence by the Alberta court system.

René Pelletier, Edmonton

comment to the Braid article below:

Ed Henderson · Uk
Quote…””Suddenly, officialdom jumped into action. The chief judge of the provincial court is investigating. The government has named an independent investigator.””

The above says the Chief Judge is investigating…and an independant investigator has been named.

But then we read…””But Justice Macklin says the conclusion that the victim was a flight risk was just wrong — “a mistaken belief.”..So maybe we should ask..”If the good Honorable Justice Maklin has stated that he knows what happened to the young witness was wrong, why doesn’t he just correct the goddam problem and make sure it does not happen again?”” “”Why do we need an investigation that could take months or years??????”” [To make sure Kenney wins the provincial election and because by the time it’s completed, Albertans, as usual, will have forgotten, their outrage calmed until the next judicial perversion violates the rights of innocents.]

Braid: Only bad publicity seems to shake the justice system [That’s because the only court in Canada that truly serves true “justice” is the court of public opinion] by Don Braid, June 6, 2017, Calgary Herald

Do judges read judgments by other judges?

Maybe not. Egregious conduct in the courts keeps coming out via the media, instead of through a healthy process of checks and balances in the justice system itself. [Our perverse abusive legal system is self-regulating, just like the oil and gas industry is. Who sees the oil and gas industry cleaning up after itself? Who in their right mind expects the legal system to clean up the endless turds piled under judicial carpets and benches, and in chambers?]

In the case of the woman we’re calling Angela Cardinal, a sexual assault victim who was jailed and shackled for five days during a preliminary hearing, a devastating Court of Queen’s bench judgment was published last Dec. 16.

It clearly reflected the disgust of Justice Eric Macklin at the treatment of this indigenous woman, who was a willing witness to the crimes committed against her.

What happened after that judgment was published?

Nothing at all happened. Not until nearly six months later, when CBC court and crime reporter Janice Johnston “stumbled onto it,” as she says.

Suddenly, officialdom jumped into action. The chief judge of the provincial court is investigating. The government has named an independent investigator.

They’re investigating the heck out of this case, even though they’ve had all the information they needed for six months.

This is just the latest episode in an alarming pattern.

Nothing happened to Robin Camp, the former “knees together” judge, until U of C academics called him out, and the media got onto it. He finally quit the bench. [Ya, and horrifically pissing on the public interest, the Alberta Law Society gave Camp his licence back to practice law!]

Nothing happened in for two years in the case of Serenity, the four-year-old indigenous child who died after being systematically brutalized.

Postmedia columnist Paula Simons got interested when the Child and Youth Advocate released a general report on the death.

The details Simons unearthed – the photos, the medical reports describing appalling injuries – eventually revealed not just the tragedy of the girl’s death, but multiple failures of of the care and justice systems.

Would that have come out if Simons hadn’t written those columns? Not one single chance. The system only shook itself awake when the bad publicity hit.

The latest case could easily have been missed entirely.

One day recently, Janice Johnston was looking into an application involving the criminal, Lance David Blanchard.

A lawyer casually suggested she should look at Macklin’s ruling.

The judge had convicted Blanchard of aggravated sexual assault, aggravated assault, kidnapping, forcible confinement, and uttering death threats.

The details of the crimes are repulsive. They make Johnston’s other discovery even more astonishing – the fact that the victim was herself locked up for five days during the preliminary hearing, sometimes very close to the criminal.

Crown attorneys and judges never want to lose a key witness during a trial. A man like Blanchard might get off, and go back on the street to attack someone else.

But Justice Macklin says the conclusion that she was a flight risk was just wrong – “a mistaken belief.”

Despite the victim’s frequent please for release, she was locked up in the remand centre at night, kept in shackled in court all day, and on top of that, handcuffed when she was taken outside the courtroom.

At one point she had to wait while the accused got emergency dental surgery.

Justice Macklin wrote: “Not surprisingly, the complainant questioned why she must remain in custody and not testify until the afternoon while the accused went for a dental appointment.”

She was a brave soul, that woman we’re still not allowed to name. Justice Macklin himself payed tribute to her character – posthumously. She’d was shot dead in an unrelated incident before her attacker went to trial.

People in the criminal justice system usually care deeply about decent treatment of everyone who appears in their daily parade of misery. That includes victims especially, but also the accused.

Premier Rachel Notley made the point Tuesday that this must apply with special care to the poor and disadvantaged.

That not always what happens, though. And when something goes badly wrong, the only remedy often seems to be publicity.

Even the judges know it.

Last week, Calgary youth court judge Steve Lipton called reporters to his courtroom as a “last resort” to say he couldn’t find a secure mental health bed for a deeply troubled 14-year-old accused young offender.

“I’m angry, very angry,” the judge said. “He deserves to be in a treatment facility and not in jail.”

Four days later, the child welfare department magically produced a bed.

This kind of thing makes for dramatic news stories that often do some good. But it’s no way at all to reform a justice system.

Failures in sex assault victim case ‘almost too numerous to list’: Justice minister by Paige Parsons, June 5, 2017, Edmonton Journal

Alberta’s justice minister has ordered an independent investigation into the courts’ treatment of a sexual assault complainant who was shackled while giving evidence about the attack, and held in custody alongside the man who assaulted her.

Kathleen Ganley said Monday the failures that led to a young indigenous woman’s mistreatment are “almost too numerous to list.”

The details of what happened to the woman came as a surprise to her brother, who described her Monday as a “good mother, good sister, good person.”

“(She) kept all her problems to herself and didn’t want to burden people,” he said.

Neither the woman nor her brother can be identified under a court-ordered publication ban.

The victim, a mother of four, was living on the street in June 2014 when Lance David Blanchard dragged her inside his home and assaulted her.

Blanchard was convicted of aggravated sexual assault, kidnapping, unlawful confinement, possession of a weapon, threatening to cause death or bodily harm and breaching conditions of his release in December 2016. He was acquitted of attempted murder in the case.

After Blanchard was arrested and charged, a preliminary inquiry was ordered that began in June 2015, but the woman wasn’t told she was needed in court to give evidence.

The woman was still living on the streets at the time, and struggled to give evidence the first day she was called to testify.

The court determined she was a “flight risk” and remanded her into custody. She was shackled throughout her multiple days of testimony, held at the Edmonton Remand Centre and placed in the same transport van as Blanchard on at least two separate occasions. She was often housed next to or near the accused in courthouse cells while waiting to give testimony.

Ganley said though the woman protested being taken into custody, and promised to return to court to appear, her appeals fell on “deaf ears.” [Of course they did!  She’s nothing but a  measily woman, not worthy of our time, consideration or fairness.]

“I’m the victim and look at me. I’m in shackles. This is fantastic. This is a great … system,” the woman told the court during the preliminary hearing.

The woman didn’t testify during the trial because she was shot and killed in an unrelated incident in 2015.

Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Eric Macklin convicted Blanchard in late 2016. In his decision, he apologized to the deceased woman on behalf of the justice system for its “appalling” treatment.

Macklin noted the woman’s testimony during the preliminary hearing was “credible and reliable.”

Opposition leader Brian Jean called on Ganley to hold Crown prosecutor Patricia Innes and provincial court Judge Raymond Bodnarek accountable for how the woman was treated, while Progressive Conservative caucus leader Ric McIver called for a ministerial order prohibiting the justice system from forcing victims to be in close proximity to their alleged attackers.

‘Plenty of blame’

Ganley said she will wait for the outcome of the investigation to determine if there will be repercussions for Innes, and said though there may be “conversations” with members of the judiciary such as Bodnarek, it is typically self-regulating.

“I think there’s plenty of blame to go around,” Ganley said.

Innes remains employed as a Crown prosecutor in Edmonton, and is continuing to act as prosecutor in Blanchard’s case. Blanchard has not been sentenced yet.

Ganley said Monday in response to a CBC report about the woman’s case and treatment that she had met with the woman’s mother and offered an apology. The minister also confirmed she has appointed an independent investigator, and struck a committee to look into the incident.

Ganley said until the investigation is concluded, any Crown prosecutor seeking to use the section of the Criminal Code that allows witnesses who refuse to testify to be held in custody must first get approval from the chief Crown prosecutor.

Blanchard has a long record of convictions for violent and sexual offences.

Blanchard has applied for a stay of his conviction or a sentence reduction on the grounds that he was mistreated while in custody. If Blanchard’s application is rejected, the Crown will begin arguments to have him declared a dangerous offender in January.

Minister orders investigation and review

Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley has appointed criminal lawyer Roberta Campbell to conduct an independent investigation into the case. Campbell, the outgoing president of the Manitoba Legal Society, will be tasked with determining what actions the government can take to prevent mistreatment of sexual assault victims.

Ganley has also convened a special committee to make policy recommendations to ensure the other sexual assault victims aren’t subjected to the same experience. She has appointed Association of Alberta Sexual Assault Services CEO Deb Tomlinson and lawyer Grace Auger, former vice-president of the Indigenous Bar Association, to sit on the committee, along with representatives from the provincial and federal prosecution services, court administrative services and Victim Services.

Comments:

Mark Pearson
Let me guarantee you of one thing. Not one officer, prison guard or justice official associated with this disgusting reprehensible behavior will suffer any real consequences. A couple of oops and some halfhearted apologies and the lot of them will be back in their little suburban enclaves enjoying a nice sleep in their toasty little beds. They should be fired. They won’t be.

Linda Hallworth
The judge in this troubling case was none other than former Deputy Justice Minister Ray Bodnarek, a PC loyalist appointed as a judge by former PC Justice Minister Jonathan Denis who himself resigned under troubling allegations of domestic violence.

Cytherea Yeriho · Edmonton, Alberta
She didn’t deserve to be punished for being uncooperative and potentially flighty, but she did need to be held, and she didn’t want to contact her family.

Policies for these problem victims is one (frankly relatively minor) thing, but everyone should be much more concerned with the low conviction rate and low sentences. That’s how this girl was assaulted to begin with: by a convicted rapist that didn’t serve nearly enough time.

Mike Duggan
Unfortunately this isn’t the first time this has happened to an aboriginal woman. There was a case in Nunavut, 20 years ago, where the Crown and RCMP treated the victim exactly the same. In that instance the victim was arrested in BC, transported across Canada by air. She was handcuffed and rode in the same RCMP suburban as the attacker. Obviously the Justice system, either, doesn’t care or hasn’t learned from their mistakes. [Or the asshole cowardly misogynistic judges and crown prosecutors enjoy abusing women that have been abused, exerting power over them.]

Fern A. Meyer
Understand the need to help her be clear, etc. however there were many places this could have happened. And remand IS NOT one of them. Because she was aboriginal absolutely played a part in the justice system handling of this case. Shame shame on them!! I hope there are consequences for those involved. This is the only way they will learn. 

Karilyn McAuley · Edmonton, Alberta
Hard to even believe something this horrible happened here. Nothing like making a traumatic experience degrading.

Terri Flewin · Classified at Throughout the Universe
Nope sad, but not hard to believe at all. Time for All stories to be heard. Unfuck the system.

Allison Gauthier · School of Hard Knocks
Disgusting this should be reported to justice minister raybould [She knew about it, and did nothing responsible.]

Jessy Turner · Edmonton, Alberta
101st & 106ave Capital Tower houses more that one known & convicted sexual predator.

Amanda Evans
Another reason victims dont come forward.

Paula Simons: Apology too little, too late, for sexual assault victim sent to remand centre by Paula Simons, June 5, 2017, Edmonton Journal

She was kidnapped. Sexually assaulted. Choked. Stabbed.

Then she was brutalized by the justice system meant to protect her.

The story — first reported by the CBC this week — of what happened to a 28-year-old Cree woman sounds like a horror movie.

On the most flimsy of pretexts, the provincial court judge at a preliminary hearing for her attacker ordered the mother of four to be held at the Edmonton Remand Centre for almost a week to ensure she’d testify.

She was forced to travel in the prison van between the remand centre and court house with her attacker. She had to sit handcuffed and shackled for hours on end, waiting to testify.

The judge who ordered this treatment was Ray Bodnarek, Alberta’s former deputy minister of justice. [Experienced! Surely he knew he was violating Cardinal’s rights and the law] Before his appointment to the bench by the Redford government in 2013, he was the department’s highest-ranking bureaucrat.

Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley called the series of events “almost incomprehensible.”

“We can’t even imagine what she went through in the van, trapped with the man who attacked her,” Ganley told a hastily called news conference Monday.

Ganley apologized on behalf of Alberta Justice, and announced she had appointed criminal lawyer Roberta Campbell, president of the Law Society of Manitoba, to conduct an independent investigation. Ganley also struck a special expert committee to examine ways to prevent such situations in the future.

It’s heartening to see Ganley publicly condemn what happened, to pledge decisive action. But however adroitly she’s managing the political fallout, let’s not look away from just how horribly this case went off the rails.

In June 2014, the young woman — whose name is subject to a publication ban — was brutally, bloodily assaulted by Lance David Blanchard. Blanchard was six-foot-five and had just been released from prison eight months before, after serving a 34-year sentence for sexual assault, manslaughter and other violent offences.

The victim managed to call 911, and saved her own life.

When the preliminary hearing began a year later, no one told her about it. Two days before she was supposed to testify, she actually approached two police officers whom she knew. They told her she had to appear in court. Since she was still homeless, they found a hotel room for her, then moved her to her mother’s house. The next morning, they picked her up and gave her a ride to court. She testified. But she was agitated, unfocused. It was Friday afternoon, and Crown prosecutor Patricia Innes was concerned she might not return Monday. Rather than assign a support worker to help her or police officer to escort her, the court remanded her for the weekend. There she stayed for five nights as the preliminary hearing dragged on.

When the criminal case finally went to trial before Justice Eric Macklin of the Court of Queen’s Bench, Macklin was horrified. He called the woman an intelligent and eloquent witness. Her testimony, he said, was “clear, coherent, lucid and responsive.”

Macklin said she had never been a flight risk.

“She was never missing and had never failed to appear,” he wrote. “She told the court the true facts concerning her whereabouts and asked that she simply be taken to her mother’s home. When told of concerns that she would not come back to court, she responded that she promised to do so. Nevertheless, the court again remanded the complainant into custody.”

There was no legal or logical basis to hold the woman in remand. Even if she had been a flight risk, what possible justification was there to keep her shackled and handcuffed in court for days on end? Or to force her, repeatedly, into close quarters with the man charged with her attempted murder? Such behaviour was cruel and callous. Sure, the Crown wanted to win its case. But this surreal maltreatment of the traumatized victim actually put the integrity of the trial at risk.

Sexual assault victims are often nervous about testifying. But let’s be honest. If this victim hadn’t been indigenous, and hadn’t been poor, this never would have happened. If a middle-class, non-aboriginal woman expressed hesitations about testifying against her rapist, she wouldn’t end up behind bars. Meanwhile, how many marginalized women will now think twice about pressing charges for fear of being re-victimized by the courts?

Macklin found Blanchard guilty of kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault and related offences. The Crown wants him deemed a dangerous offender. Blanchard’s lawyer, on the other hand, wants whatever his sentence will be reduced — because, he says, Blanchard has endured poor living conditions while in remand.

But Blanchard’s victim isn’t here to appreciate that bleak irony.

She didn’t hear Ganley’s apologies. She never saw Blanchard’s conviction. She was killed in late 2015, an innocent, accidental [??? or ordered by the court, the ultimate gag order to get rid of an embarrassement to the priviledged white boys in the legal club?] victim, struck by a stray bullet — in the wrong place at the wrong time.

In his judgment, Macklin noted the woman’s sense of humour. He mentioned a poem she’d written, which she’d recited at the preliminary hearing.

“Unfortunately, her life circumstances did not allow society to see or experience her intelligence and artistic qualities,” he wrote.

How tragic that a different judge, the former deputy minister of justice, saw not a poet or a victim, but someone who deserved shackles and a cage.

Comments:

Julie Ali · University of Alberta
“The judge who ordered this treatment was Ray Bodnarek, Alberta’s former deputy minister of justice. Before his appointment to the bench by the Redford government in 2013, he was the department’s highest-ranking bureaucrat.”

If the highest bureaucrat at the Justice Department at the GOA –in his appointment to the bench could disregard the human rights of this woman in this anti-democratic fashion –I wonder what is going on in the justice system. Are there many PC appointed judges of this nature in our judicial system in Alberta?

I am also curious why he is still a judge after this abuse of power.

Doesn’t the GOA think it necessary to remove this judge from his position? What guarantee do citizens have that this flagrant abuse of power won’t happen again? Why has there been no complaint to the Law Society of Alberta?

It is troubling to see that the judge only receives the review of the court of public opinion rather than real review from his professional body and the government of Alberta. The investigation proposed by Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley is not enough. There needs to be accountability for this failure to treat a sexual assault victim with appropriate responses. I do not believe this sort of heavy handed confinement would have happened to a sexual assault victim from Riverbend. It is my opinion, this abuse of power happened because this woman was an impoverished First Nations woman without any sort of clout in this society. Utterly shameful.

Toni Alarcon · San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato

And then to put this women into the same vehicle with the man who brutalized her just blows ones mind!

Alberta is full of conservative judges like this!

Remember that Calgary judge who asked a women why she didn’t just close her legs? Sad part is that this investigation will go nowhere! At most a glove slap on the wrist!

Julie Ali · University of Alberta
Toni Alarcon That is why there needs to be action by the justice minister and by the GOA. The investigation will provide no new information; this is the usual way the GOA handles “emerging issues” that they don’t want the public to focus on. Unfortunately, this tactic tends to work as in the case of the over 800 dead kids in care where we had first the roundtable of spin by the PCs and now the #PanelPolitics by the NDPCs. No matter the political party we hire, the GOA and the system stays the same. Very sad. But there you go.

Mina Lee
I so agree with you! And it’s so disturbing we have judges like this — and he was the former deputy minister of justice?! What a joke!

Cynthia Geria Ganga · Opera and Concert Singer at Freelance Soprano
I was treated with a similar lack of intelligence by the Court when I attempted to have my rapist Wade Randall Benson prosecuted for anally raping me in the winter of 2008-2009 and leaving me unconcious for 3 weeks in my step daughters bedroom. He is Metis and is being held up as a solar power businessman in Alberta by the NDP. I look white and have a stellar education (Harvard). I was prosecuted by the Court when I was unable to respond to a restraining order granted in absentia when I was in the psyche ward for PTSD and subsequently broke the order when my rapist sent my step daughter and hi…

Alice McNabb Gradauer
Why is there a publication ban on her name and why has cbc used a typical indigenous name instead of Jane Doe? I wonder how the women actually named Angela Cardinal feel. I hope the inquiry into MMIW is paying attention to this incident, which is such an illustration of deep disrespect by powerful people.

Clayton Coroon · Edmonton, Alberta
Crazy thing is this is happen over and over until these judges realize it isn’t 1880 anymore.
This idiot should immediately be replaced.

Toni Alarcon · San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato
Almost incomprehensible?? Both this judge Bodnarek and crown prosecutor Patricia Innes should get their arses fired now! Who are these people??

Julie Ali · University of Alberta
I agree with you. And what is even more surprising is that Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley has not even mentioned this as a penalty for this abuse of power.

Brenda Peachey
that poor woman….disgusting treatment!! so is the ignorant judge being held accountable for his stupidity? probably not…right?

Nancy Hack · Chartered Mediator, Registered Family Mediator at Mediation Plus
An utter travesty!

Braid: Sex assault victim sought justice, instead she was shackled and jailed by Don Braid, June 5, 2017, Calgary Herald

After the death of little Serenity, after ex-judge Robin Camp wondered why a sexual assault complainant didn’t keep her knees together, doubts about Alberta’s justice system were certainly growing.

But this latest — the case of Angela Cardinal — is so offensive to natural justice that it can literally make you gasp, or gag.

If this can happen in our courts, what can’t happen?

The victim of a brutal sexual and physical assault was locked in the Edmonton Remand Centre for five nights during a preliminary hearing into charges against her assailant, Lance David Blanchard.

Blanchard had savagely stabbed and beaten her. And yet, she found herself being hauled into court in leg shackles.

This indigenous woman of 28, whose real name can’t be used because of a court order, stood up for herself.

“I’m the victim, and look at me, I’m in shackles,” she told provincial court Judge Raymond Bodnarek.

He ordered her back to a cell. “Aren’t you supposed to commit a crime to go to jail?” she asked.

Not necessarily, it seems. Off she went to the slammer, where she was sometimes confined in a cell close to her attacker. She was also driven with him to court in the same vehicle.

The CBC’s Janice Johnston reported this case in detail Monday morning, and by afternoon it was all over the legislature. [POLITICIANS RESPOND MUCH TOO LATE AS USUAL]

Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley had already apologized to the family of the victim. She launched an inquiry and vowed that the law allowing detention of witnesses will never again be used without approval from the highest level. [WHEN THERE’S LITTLE BUT ROTTING FILTH AND CORRUPTION AT THE HIGHEST LEVELS IN CANADA, WHAT GOOD WILL THIS “POLICY” DO?]

It’s obviously intended to prevent flight by complicit or hostile witnesses, not blameless victims.

In response to questions from Wildrose Leader Brian Jean, Premier Rachel Notley also apologized.

“It was a tragedy and actually quite an appalling set of circumstances … no victim should ever be treated that way.”

Jean said: “I practised criminal law for 10 years, and I’ve never heard of a victim of sexual assault being shackled and jailed by the system meant to protect her, when she was willing to testify and had committed no crime.”

Ganley wonders if this would happen to anybody but an indigenous woman.

It’s the question people still ask about Serenity, the four-year-old First Nations child who died after being brutalized over an extended period, yet still wasn’t worth an autopsy report for almost two years.

Bodnarek, the judge who agreed with confining Angela, had previously been Alberta’s deputy minister of justice and deputy attorney general, effectively the administrative boss of the whole system.

In 2010, then PC Justice Minister Alison Redford (later the premier) sent Bodnarek the Tobaccogate memo, in which she indicated that a law firm involving her ex-husband was the best choice to handle the province’s anti-tobacco litigation.

PC Justice Minister Jonathan Denis appointed Bodnarek to the bench in 2013, with high praise for his efforts “to maintain and enhance a fair and accessible justice system for all Albertans.”

Blanchard’s charges went to trial in Court of Queen’s bench, where he was convicted in 2016 by Justice Eric Macklin.

By then Angela Cardinal had already been shot dead in an unrelated incident, another indigenous life snuffed after hardship and indignity. [UNRELATED?]

In a postscript to his judgment, Macklin [para 346-349] said Cardinal’s treatment by the preliminary hearing court was “appalling” and “she is owed an apology.”

Then he added the only sense we have of this anonymous woman’s character. I find it heartbreaking.

“In her testimony, she confirmed that she had graduated from Grade 12 and was a good student,” Macklin wrote. “It is not difficult to accept this would be true, as she clearly came across as an intelligent woman during her testimony.

“While there were times when she was clearly distraught, much of her testimony was given in a clear, cogent, coherent and articulate manner.

“She spoke of having some artistic talent and displayed a sense of humor when suggesting that drawings she had taken depicting the accused’s apartment and the accused were not of Picasso quality.

“When shown a particular photograph of the scene, she identified a piece of paper on the floor as a poem that she had written.

“She recited the poem in court and indicated that she kept it in her sock so that in the event it fell out, she could ‘make someone smile from a distance without knowing it . . . cute little things like that might make life beautiful.’”

The judge found it unfortunate that “her life circumstances did not allow society to see or experience her intelligence and artistic qualities.”

One circumstance was unfathomably callous treatment from the system that was supposed to give her justice. Alberta courts may be pressured and underfunded, but nothing excuses such a failure of basic humanity. 

Melody Nice · Region Lead, Lower Athabasca aka Oil Sands at Government of Alberta – Aboriginal Relations

I’m disgusted! There is far to much racism in the judicial system from the police right up to the judges! Pathetic!

Doris Lebel · BCIT
In Alberta there are some courts that either sit on First Nations or service primarily First Nations I suggest that the minister of Justice attend some of those courtrooms and see first hand what First Nations persons experience in our justice system. Daily there are First Nations people that maybe accused, victim, applicant or respondent in family law matters that are not receiving access to justice. (Of course “access to justice” for all Albertans needs to be defined, clarified and made a priority.) The lack of knowledge and insensitivity to the cultural history and the intergenerational trauma of First Nations persons within the justice system is stunning to see. The experience of this particular victim sickens me but it does not surprise me. It is our shame and it needs to be addressed…..words are hollow and often false. This cries for action.

Julie Ali · University of Alberta
This case is a sad example to me of the failures of the system under the PCs who appear to have done pretty much what they wanted to do. It’s clear to me that the PCs should never get back to government as a ruling party.

I encourage all Wildrose Party voters to refuse to support unity. Mr. Jean could become premier without the Tapcal Trust Fund PCs.

As for the NDP folks in government now why are they not firing folks? We’ve seen the failures of investigations by the GOA with reference to over 800 dead kids in the child welfare system under both the PCs and the NDPCs.

Why would we expect more than recommendations that won’t be implemented with an investigation into this egregious abuse of power? Where is the penalty for this abuse of power? I guess there is none is there?

Jason Lee Borne · Georgian College
I have been fighting for truth and accountability for 5 years and it breaks my heart to give up on the stench of a rotten system.

In a perfect world this judge from hell would go to prison and have his career destroyed. I loved the justice sytem because it holds society together……….but any perversion is a death by 1,000 cuts.

Julie Ali · University of Alberta
In a world where abuses of power are tolerated we don’t get justice, we get investigations which end in no consequences.  You can see this clearly in the Serenity case where #PanelPolitics is the GOA strategy to deal with public concern. Nothing changes.  Troubling but citizens have to keep trucking. We’ll hire the next political party -the Wildrose Party and see how it goes.

George Rae
With references to Raymond Bodnareck, Jonathan Denis, Alison Redford and Tobaccogate, does anyone not see a definite PC thread here? And these entitled self-serving incompetents want a ride back into power on the shoulders of Wildrose? I don’t think so. Not on my July 22nd vote.

Julie Ali · University of Alberta
Good for you. The fact is this PC group had their chance and we’re done with this group of powerful people who were certainly around way too long in Alberta. Just thinking of the Tapcal Trust Fund makes me wonder why the Wildrose Party voters would consider aligning themselves with the PCs.

Comment by Julie Ali to the CBC News article below, June 5, 2017, Reading Children’s Books

If the judge wanted her safe and ready for the court case he could have asked the health care system for assistance. This sort of overbearing restriction on the freedom of a citizen is unacceptable as was the abuse of her human rights. Mind boggling case. Why is it that First Nations people suffer these abuses? I’m imagining it is poverty and therefore lack of legal help that results in this junk.

There’s work to be done in Alberta and it starts here.

Only in Alberta could a victim be put in jail alongside her attacker. Why? I guess they want to make sure that the attacker gets prison time but what about a better way to achieve this end result? Why not have the health care system detain her? What was wrong with taking her to a hospital and posting a security guard by her? This would have still been an abuse of her rights but better than this horror.

‘I’m the victim and I’m in shackles’: Edmonton woman jailed while testifying against her attacker, Alberta justice minister apologizes for ‘appalling’ treatment of sexual assault victim by Janice Johnston, CBC News, Jun 05, 2017

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On a Monday afternoon in June 2015, Angela Cardinal was led into an Edmonton courtroom handcuffed and in leg shackles. Metallic rattling echoed as a sheriff escorted the 28-year-old to the witness stand.

She was not the accused, but rather a victim — called to testify at a preliminary hearing after she was savagely attacked and sexually assaulted by a notorious sexual predator.

Cardinal was angry about being locked up.

“I’m the victim and look at me, I’m in shackles,” she told provincial court Judge Raymond Bodnarek.

“You’re going to go back to remand tonight,” he replied, “so that we can get you back here tomorrow.”

Cardinal’s fury increased.

“Shackles,” she spat. “Aren’t you supposed to commit a crime to go to jail?”

Cardinal was forced to spend a total of five nights in the Edmonton Remand Centre during her testimony.

Angela Cardinal is not the woman’s real name. A publication ban prohibits CBC from identifying her even though she died in an unrelated, accidental shooting months after testifying at the preliminary hearing. [ACCIDENTAL?]

‘Didn’t deserve to be locked up’

Alberta Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley was appalled when CBC News told her of Cardinal’s treatment.

“I’ve never seen a case like this,” she said. “I mean, how many people did she come into contact with and nobody stood up and said, ‘Guys I think this is wrong. I think we’ve made a mistake.’

“I was very surprised that our system would have allowed something like this to happen … I think that anyone would be shocked by it.”

[Where is Ganley’s “shock” at how Ernst is being treated by the “judicial” system, especially the Supreme Court of Canada? Is Ganley really shocked at the abuse Cardinal suffered at the hands of Alberta “justice” or shocked that the media is making it public? What excuses will the courts spew forth now that it is public?]

Ganley said she has already formed a special committee to look at the case to review policies, with an eye to making what she calls “aggressive changes.” As well, criminal lawyer Roberta Campbell, outgoing president of the Law Society of Manitoba, will head an independent investigation into the treatment of Cardinal.

“She was the victim. We should have treated her as the victim. And I think it definitely speaks to a series of wrong decisions and a series of systemic failures that would have allowed us to do something like this to this young woman.”

Aggravated sexual assault

Cardinal, a Cree woman from Maskwacis, about 100 kilometres south of Edmonton, moved to the city when she was 14.

On a June afternoon in 2014, she was tired and hungry, with nowhere to call home. She convinced a tenant to let her inside a central Edmonton apartment building. She had no idea that Lance Blanchard, a career criminal, lived on the second floor.

Curled up in the stairwell next to a baseboard heater, Cardinal sang herself to sleep with This Little Light of Mine. But she awoke to a knife at her throat. Holding it was a six-foot-seven-inch, 260-pound convicted sexual predator.

At just over five feet tall, weighing only 109 pounds, Cardinal was at a clear disadvantage.

“Blanchard came out of nowhere, bat out of hell, grabbing me,” Cardinal testified.

She said he dragged her by the hair, up the stairs, to his dirty, cluttered apartment.

Once they were inside, she said, all hell broke loose.

‘I was praying I would die’

“He started stabbing me,” Cardinal said. “He said he was going to make me ugly and stick me in a closet and keep me. He started banging my head off the ground.”

Exhibit photos show Cardinal’s jacket and shoes on a blood-soaked couch. Blanchard held her at knifepoint, removed her clothing and fondled her.

“I felt disgusting,” Cardinal told court. “I wanted to get away as fast as possible, but I couldn’t. I was praying I would die before anything else happened.”

Blanchard grabbed electrical cords to tie up her legs. Court transcripts show he tried to stab her in the chest, but Cardinal put up her left hand to protect herself. Blood poured from a deep cut to her palm.

She made a run for the door, but couldn’t turn the knob with her slippery, bloody hands.

Help finally arrived

Blanchard was on top of Cardinal’s back when she pulled out a hidden phone, dialled 911, put it on speaker and threw it across the room.

The six-minute phone call to police was chaotic. On a recording, Cardinal can be heard screaming frantically in the background, “Help me. Somebody, help me. I’ve been stabbed.”

It took 27 stitches to repair the wound to her hand. Her body was covered with cuts. One eye was black and blue. Her neck was bruised from where Blanchard tried to choke her.

Angela Cardinal hand

It took 27 stitches to close the wound on Cardinal’s hand after she was attacked by a knife-wielding Lance Blanchard. (Edmonton Police Service )

Ordered into custody

One year later, on June 5, 2015, Cardinal had to face her attacker again, at his preliminary hearing.

On the first day she was called to testify, she kept falling asleep. She had trouble focusing and answering questions.

At the request of Crown prosecutor Patricia Innes, Bodnarek ordered that Cardinal spend the weekend at the Edmonton Remand Centre. Both were concerned about her physical and mental state. [Or, did they consider her a lower class citizen not worthy of humane care and protection?]

Innes suggested Cardinal had “presented in a condition unsuitable for testifying, and we don’t know what the reason is.”

‘You sit in the back of those cells. It feels like an hour went by but really it’s only 20 minutes.’– Angela Cardinal, in court testimony

Bodnarek determined he had authority to detain Cardinal under Section 545(1)(b) of the Criminal Code, which applies to witnesses who refuse to answer questions. [How many law-abusing, fact fabricating inhumane judges are there in Canada?]

When Cardinal returned to court after a weekend in custody, she pleaded with the judge to be “unremanded.”

“It’s not a pleasant scene I’m living,” she said. “Like, I’m the fricking victim here and I mean, like, come on. You sit in the back of those cells. It feels like an hour went by but really it’s only 20 minutes.”

Cardinal asked to be released to stay with her mother. She promised she would return to court to continue her testimony.

Bodnarek refused, but told her: “We’re going to make sure that all efforts will be made to keep you separate from Mr. Blanchard.”

But both Blanchard and Cardinal were detained at the same facility. It was later revealed that at least twice, Cardinal had to travel in the same cramped prisoner transport van as her attacker. The remand centre and Edmonton’s courthouse are 15 kilometres apart.

During court breaks, Cardinal was usually placed in a cell close to Blanchard.

Ganley called that yet another failure of the justice system. [Or, intentionally horrid appointments of inappropriate (mostly) racist misogynistic men made by (mostly) racist misogynistic men in positions of power – eg provincial and federal politicians to keep the incredibly abusive and disrespectful to women patriarchal system happy?]

“None of us will ever really understand what it was like for her to sit there and stare at the man who did this to her,” Ganley said. “While she’s trapped, essentially.”

‘Taken advantage of’

Deb Tomlinson has spent decades working with sex assault survivors. She is currently the CEO of the Association of Alberta Sexual Assault Services.

“I just felt really, really sad. And certainly angry as well,” Tomlinson said after learning about the case. “First of all, that this young woman was taken advantage of and sexually assaulted. And then was — in many ways — taken advantage of and retraumatized by the system that she sought to seek justice through.”

Sex assault victims require specialized support throughout the entire process, including testifying, Tomlinson said.

“And this was the farthest thing from victim support that I’ve ever seen.”

​Tragedy after preliminary hearing

Seven months after Cardinal testified at the preliminary hearing, she became a victim once again, gunned down in an accidental shooting. The man who shot her pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

While alive, Cardinal never told her mother about the assault or about her experience testifying.

“She didn’t say anything to us,” Cardinal’s mother said tearfully, when CBC News shared the details with her in April. “She said she had to go to court. That’s all she told me.”

She is outraged by the way her daughter was treated. “It’s not right. And after all what he did to her, it’s not fair.”

Blanchard was ultimately committed to stand trial. When the case was heard in Edmonton Court of Queen’s Bench, Cardinal’s testimony from the preliminary hearing was allowed in as evidence, as she was no longer alive to testify.

Last December, Justice Eric Macklin found Blanchard guilty of aggravated assault, kidnapping, unlawful confinement, aggravated sexual assault, possession of a weapon and threatening to cause death or bodily harm.

Blanchard remains behind bars. The Crown will be asking to have him designated as a dangerous offender.

The judge was blunt in his criticism of the lower court.

“I was troubled by the treatment of the complainant,” Macklin wrote in his 49-page decision.

“Her treatment by the justice system was appalling. She is owed an apology.”

​Ganley apologizes to victim’s mother

After CBC News alerted Ganley to the details of the case, she read Macklin’s decision herself.

Last month, the justice minister took it upon herself to call Cardinal’s mother to apologize. She described the conversation as “emotional” and “difficult.”

Ganley said she regrets not being able to apologize directly to the victim.

“I know there’s nothing that can ever be done to make it up,” she said. “But I certainly hope we can find a way to never let this happen again.”

Treatment of Sex Assault Victim by Court Was ‘Appalling’: Judge, Canadian victim had to ride more than once in van with her attacker by Arden Dier, June 5, 2017, Newser

Without anywhere else to go, the homeless woman nestled in next to a heater in the stairwell of an Edmonton apartment building and fell asleep. She awoke to a man holding a knife to her throat. The woman had no idea that the man, Lance Blanchard, was a convicted sexual predator who lived in the building and was deemed a “significant risk” by police, reports the Edmonton Sun. But she soon learned what he was capable of. She was dragged to his apartment, sexually assaulted, and stabbed before she was able to make a 911 call. But a year later, in 2015, the unidentified woman was led into court to testify against him while in chains. “I’m the victim and look at me, I’m in shackles,” the woman told Alberta Judge Raymond Bodnarek, per the CBC. “Aren’t you supposed to commit a crime to go to jail?”

During her first day of testimony, the woman had difficulty answering questions and repeatedly fell asleep. Citing a law regarding uncooperative witnesses, Bodnarek ordered that she be held in custody. Days later, she begged to be released, but the judge refused, promising she would be kept away from Blanchard, who was held at the same facility. Instead, at least twice over her five nights in custody, she was taken to court in the same prisoner transport van as her attacker. When Blanchard was eventually convicted of aggravated sexual assault and other crimes, a judge described the woman’s treatment as “appalling.” By that time, she was dead, a victim of an accidental shooting. Alberta’s justice minister says an investigation into her treatment is now underway.

Alberta justice minister ‘shocked, angry’ with treatment of sex assault victim by The Canadian Press, with files from Bill Graveland, June 5, 2017, Calgary Herald

EDMONTON — Alberta Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley has launched an independent investigation into what she calls the failure of the provincial justice system at every level in the way it treated the victim of a vicious sexual assault.

A 28-year-old indigenous woman from central Alberta was forced to spend five nights in the Edmonton Remand Centre during her testimony at a 2015 preliminary hearing for the man who attacked her.

Court documents indicate the woman had trouble focusing and answering questions, so the hearing judge agreed with a Crown prosecutor’s request to have her spend the weekend in custody.

The complainant was forced to testify about the June 2014 assault in Edmonton while she was shackled and handcuffed and, on at least two occasions, she had to travel in the same prisoner van as her attacker.

A different judge who found the man guilty on several serious charges noted the woman’s treatment in his decision last December.

“She was clearly distraught and, using her word, ‘panicking.’ She was somewhat belligerent,” Justice Eric Macklin wrote. “Concerns were expressed as to her behaviour and whether she would voluntarily reattend on the following Monday to continue her testimony”

Macklin expressed regret that the young woman, who was homeless and living on the street, was kept in custody.

“She was remanded into custody on the mistaken belief that she was ‘a flight risk’ and that she was simply incapable of participating properly in the court proceedings,” he wrote.

“Her treatment by the justice system in this respect was appalling. She is owed an apology. Unfortunately, no apology can be extended to her as she was tragically shot and killed in an unrelated incident.”

She died seven months after her testimony.

Macklin noted the woman, whose name is protected under a publication ban, was never missing and had never failed to appear.

“Nevertheless … she remained in shackles, emphasized again that she was the victim and not surprisingly, said the following: ‘I’m the victim and look at me. I’m in shackles. This is fantastic. This is a great . . . system.'”

Ganley has hired Manitoba criminal lawyer Roberta Campbell to investigate what happened and recommend policies to ensure such treatment never happens again.

“When I was made aware of this situation, I was shocked, angry and heartbroken,” said Ganley in a written statement released Monday. “In my opinion, there were obvious mistakes and poor decisions made in this case. The way she was treated in the system is absolutely unacceptable.”

Ganley said she has already apologized to the victim’s mother for the way her daughter was treated. A representative from provincial victim services will be working to ensure appropriate resources are available to the family.

Ganley noted that any prosecutor who decides to use a section of the Criminal Code that allows for witnesses to be held in custody for refusing to testify must have the decision approved by the chief Crown prosecutor.

“I don’t think it’s too strong to say that this is a horrific situation and I can’t imagine what her family must feel about how this woman has been treated,” said Kim Stanton, legal director for LEAF, Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund.

“I hope that it is unusual because it’s beyond appalling.”

Stanton said the woman’s treatment highlights how the justice system continues to fail victims of sexual assault.

“This was a homeless indigenous woman. It’s beyond belief,” Stanton said. “It’s just egregious that she had to spend the weekend there and subsequent nights. Surely somebody in that courtroom could have come up with an alternative solution.”

Lance Blanchard, the man who attacked the woman, was found guilty of aggravated assault, kidnapping, unlawful confinement, aggravated sexual assault, possession of a weapon and threatening to cause death or bodily harm.

Alberta minister ‘shocked, angry’ with treatment of sex-assault victim by Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press, with files from Bill Graveland, Jun. 05, 2017, The Globe and Mail

Alberta Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley is demanding answers after it was revealed a sex assault victim was shackled and jailed during her case and was even forced to ride in a prison van with her attacker.

Ganley announced Monday she has launched two investigations into the case. [When will an investigation be launched into the Supreme Court of Canada publishing facts in their Ernst vs AER ruling made up by Justice Rosalie Abella to help the AER? Because it’s oil and gas industry-related, never?]

“The facts of this case are disturbing and tragic, and when you add in the treatment of the victim in the system, they are almost incomprehensible,” said Ganley. “What is clear is that both policies and people [AND A JUDGE!] failed in this case.

Ganley said she wants to know if the fact that the woman was indigenous and living on the street played a role in how she was treated by the justice system.

“One of the questions that keeps me up at night is whether it would have been the case that if this woman was Caucasian and housed and not addicted, whether this would have happened to her,” Ganley told a legislature news conference.

The 28-year-old woman, who was from central Alberta, was forced to spend five nights in the Edmonton Remand Centre during her testimony at a 2015 preliminary hearing for Lance Blanchard, the man who attacked her.

Court heard the woman was homeless and sleeping in an apartment stairwell when she was attacked and dragged into Blanchard’s apartment. She suffered stab wounds to her temple and hand as she attempted to fight off the sexual assault.

Court documents indicate the woman had trouble focusing and answering questions, so the hearing judge agreed with a Crown prosecutor’s request to have her spend the weekend in custody.

The complainant was forced to testify about her June 2014 assault in Edmonton while she was shackled and handcuffed and, on at least two occasions, she had to travel in the same prisoner van as her attacker.

A different judge — who found Blanchard guilty of aggravated assault, kidnapping, unlawful confinement and aggravated sexual assault — noted the woman’s treatment in his decision last December.

“She was clearly distraught and, using her word, ‘panicking.’ She was somewhat belligerent,” Justice Eric Macklin wrote. “Concerns were expressed as to her behaviour and whether she would voluntarily reattend on the following Monday to continue her testimony.”

Macklin expressed regret that the young woman was kept in custody.

“She was remanded into custody on the mistaken belief that she was ‘a flight risk’ and that she was simply incapable of participating properly in the court proceedings,” he wrote. “Her treatment by the justice system in this respect was appalling. She is owed an apology.”

That apology never came as she was killed in an unrelated shooting six months after her testimony.

Macklin noted the woman, whose name is protected under a publication ban, was never missing and had never failed to appear in court.

“Nevertheless … she remained in shackles,” Macklin wrote. “(She) emphasized again that she was the victim and not surprisingly, said the following: ‘I’m the victim and look at me. I’m in shackles. This is fantastic. This is a great … system.“’

Ganley has hired Manitoba criminal lawyer Roberta Campbell to investigate what happened. A separate committee made up of representatives from police, the Crown prosecutors office, court services and victim services will make recommendations to fix gaps in policy.

Ganley said she has already apologized to the victim’s mother.

She also noted that any prosecutor who decides to use a section of the Criminal Code that allows for witnesses to be held in custody for refusing to testify must have the decision approved by the chief Crown prosecutor.

“I don’t think it’s too strong to say that this is a horrific situation,” said Kim Stanton, legal director for LEAF, Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund. “I hope that it is unusual because it’s beyond appalling.”

Stanton said the woman’s treatment highlights how the justice system continues to fail victims of sexual assault.

“It’s beyond belief,” she said. “It’s just egregious that she had to spend the weekend there and subsequent nights. Surely somebody in that courtroom could have come up with an alternative solution.”

A few of the comments:

Cattus 9 hours ago

I listened to the story on CBC this morning and I have to say I was heartbroken and in tears listening to this poor woman talking about how she was treated. Nobody deserves to be treated that way and and there have to be some consequences to the behavior of the prosecutor AND the judge. All I can feel now is extreme anger at this.

I’m pretty sure that a Caucasian person would never be treated this way and that speaks volumes about the treatment of indigenous peoples in this country. I hope the media will not let the story go until there is some resolution and restitution.

Sadly the fact that this woman has since died means that she will never have experienced any type of positive outcome.

Bud Tugley 8 hours ago
The report was clear that the prosecutor asked the judge to keep her in remand for her own safety. The prosecutor didn’t make the decision, hence no approval by the Chief Prosecutor required. It appears to me that the judge did act in the woman’s best interest . . . having trouble focusing while on the stand indicates that she was whacked on drugs at the time. The judge obviously felt she needed help to clean up, even if was only for the duration of the trial. From the sounds of it, those in charge of the remand centre, and those responsible for transporting the people in custody to the courts were the ones who screwed up.

Rich Mole 7 hours ago

IF they screwed up, Bud, and at this time, that’s a big “if.” What evidence do we have other than the woman herself, who, as you say, may have been “whacked out on drugs at the time”?

And shame on the Minister, acting like a politically-correct puppet who–reading between her comments–also assumes the judge and prosecutor acted incorrectly!

OldAndShouldKnowBetter 5 hours ago
To be an indigenous person in Canada is to be a second-class citizen, but to be an indigenous person and a woman must be even less than that. This is an outrage and needs to be investigated and the perpetrators need to be prosecuted. I apologize to this woman and to all women who have been similarly mistreated. Unbelievable.

John Birch 4 hours ago

Settlers…..bloody Settlers and their “justice”. Sad.

jake trumper 5 hours ago
The so called “justice” system in Alberta is in very sad shape, and it has been for a long time. Ganley’s answer is to go out and hire a whole bunch of new crown prosecutors and judges. The problem is not a lack of prosecutors and judges, it is that the ones they are hiring are the bottom of the barrel of lawyers or politicians buddy’s who no longer want to go out and hustle up lawyer business and prefer to get on the gravy train for a nice big salary, slack working hours, and a boost to their oversized egos when everyone bows and scrape to them and treats them like a lord sitting on their pedestals. How many stories have there been about the behavior of Alberta judges? And only a small percent of there incompetence ever makes it to the media. A lot of things are heading down the toilet in Alberta, including the so called justice system. Sad.

115John 7 hours ago
The treatment of victims of sexual assault has been raised many times and yet this mistreatment continues.

A previous GM article spoke to the number of sexual assault cases deemed “unfounded”. Thankfully that article caused a positive reaction and a review by many police services of thier ivestigative practices.

The shortcomings of all aspects of the Canadian justice system do little to provide a safe environment for a sexual assault victim to come forward and report. I feel that there are many more victims out there who are trying to muster the courage to overcome the anticipated lack of response of the justice system and take that final step and report.

I fear that because of cases such as this that victims won’t make that report and another perpetrator gets away with this crime. [Is this why judges such as this one, Robin Camp etc, behave/order as they do? Misogyny appointed as judges intentionally to keep Canada’s “justice” system feeding evil against women and children, especially non-whites?]

Rape victim ‘shackled’ in same jail as her attacker and forced to ride to court in same van with him by Travis Gettys, June 5, 2017, Raw Story

A rape victim was detained in the same jail as her attacker and forced to ride in a cramped transport van with him to court after a judge ordered her detained to ensure her testimony.

The 28-year-old woman, who was homeless at the time, was raped in June 2014 after sleeping in the stairwell of an Edmonton apartment building where a notorious sexual predator lived, reported CBC.

Lance Blanchard, a career criminal and sex predator, dragged her to his apartment, where he stabbed and sexually assaulted the Cree woman — who managed to dial 911 on her cell phone and record the violent attack.

The woman faced her attacker a year later at his preliminary hearing, and prosecutor Patricia Innes complained the woman had “presented in a condition unsuitable for testifying, and we don’t know what the reason is,” after she kept falling asleep in court and had trouble focusing and answering questions.

Provincial court Judge Raymond Bodnarek ordered her remanded into custody under Canadian law to ensure her testimony — and she begged him to reconsider after returning to court following a weekend in jail.

“I’m the victim and look at me, I’m in shackles,” she said, and the judge explained she was going back to jail for another night to make sure she would return to court the next day.

“It’s not a pleasant scene I’m living,” the woman said. “Like, I’m the fricking victim here and I mean, like, come on. You sit in the back of those cells. It feels like an hour went by but really it’s only 20 minutes.”

The judge refused to let the woman leave jail — where Blanchard was also held in custody — and stay with her mother.

At least twice, the woman was forced to travel about 10 minutes each way in the same cramped prisoner transport as Blanchard from the jail and Edmonton’s courthouse.

She was also placed in a cell near Blanchard’s during court breaks.

“None of us will ever really understand what it was like for her to sit there and stare at the man who did this to her — while she’s trapped, essentially,” said Alberta Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley, who learned about the case from CBC.

Ganley has already formed a special committee to review the case, and she hopes to make “aggressive changes” to ensure no one else endures the treatment.

“I’ve never seen a case like this,” she said. “I mean, how many people did she come into contact with and nobody stood up and said, ‘Guys I think this is wrong. I think we’ve made a mistake.’”

Seven months after the woman testified at the preliminary hearing, she was killed in an unrelated, accidental shooting.

The man who fatally shot her later pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

Her testimony was allowed at Blanchard’s trial, and Justice Eric Macklin found him guilty of aggravated assault, kidnapping, unlawful confinement, aggravated sexual assault, possession of a weapon and threatening to cause death or bodily harm.

Macklin wrote in his 49-page decision that he was troubled by the lower court’s treatment of the victim.

“Her treatment by the justice system was appalling,” he wrote. “She is owed an apology.”

Ganley, the justice minister, regrets that she was unable to apologize to the victim before her death, but she has called the woman’s mother to offer an apology.

“I know there’s nothing that can ever be done to make it up,” Ganley said. “But I certainly hope we can find a way to never let this happen again.”

[Refer also to:

2017 04 15: Happy Easter! What’s with so many judges not keeping their lips together? Protecting rape & pedophilia rings? How are citizens to trust & respect judges with so many bad lips on the bench? “That judge didn’t care about me,” Julie Kirby, 23, one of Keith Vallejo’s victims said Friday. “He only cared about the person he was convicting, and I think that is really kind of despicable.”

2013 08 06: New judge appointed to Edmonton Criminal Court

Raymond Bodnarek, Q.C., has been appointed to Edmonton’s Criminal Court, effective August 6.

Bodnarek obtained his Law degree at the University of Alberta and was admitted to the Alberta Bar in 1986. He received his Master of Laws, specializing in environmental law, in 1992 from Dalhousie University. Bodnarek has worked with the Government of Alberta for most of his career, concentrating on the areas of environmental law and civil litigation. He leaves his current post of Deputy Minister of Justice with Alberta Justice and Solicitor General, a position he has held since 2008, to join the Provincial Court Judiciary. While with the Government of Alberta, Bodnarek endeavoured to maintain and enhance a fair and accessible justice system for all Albertans. Along with his extensive legal career, Bodnarek is a United Way volunteer, and he makes further contributions to the legal community as the co-chair of the Canadian Centre for Court Technology and as a member of the National Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters.

“It is my pleasure to announce cabinet has approved the appointment of Mr. Bodnarek as a Provincial Court Judge,” said Minister of Justice and Solicitor General Jonathan Denis. “It has been an honour to work with such a dedicated and competent individual, and I am delighted he will continue to serve Albertans as a member of the Provincial Court Judiciary.”

The Alberta Judicial Council screens all candidates for Provincial Court appointments and forwards a list of recommended applicants to the Provincial Court Nominating Committee. The committee then interviews candidates from the list and recommends the names of those appointees felt to be of the highest calibre to the Minister of Justice and Solicitor General. [Really? By the corrupt greedy abusive filth Albertans usually vote into power?]

The Provincial Court Nominating Committee was established in 1999. The 11 members are appointed by the Minister of Justice and represent the Alberta Provincial Court, the Law Society of Alberta, the Canadian Bar Association (Alberta Branch), and other members from the legal profession and the public. The Judicial Council has representatives from the Alberta Provincial Court, Court of Queen’s Bench, Court of Appeal and the Law Society of Alberta. It also includes two people appointed by the Minister of Justice and Solicitor General.

Our government was elected to keep building Alberta, to live within its means and to fight to open new markets for Alberta’s resources. We will continue to deliver the responsible change Albertans voted for. [Emphasis added]

– 30 –

Media inquiries may be directed to:

Michelle Davio
Communications
Alberta Justice and Solicitor General
780-644-3009

To call toll-free within Alberta dial 310-0000.

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