Finally, “a non/racist justice and jury in Alberta,” Bradley Barton found guilty in 2011 death of Cindy Gladue

When will Canadian courts and lawyers/prosecutors begin to treat rape victims, even dead rape or sex victims, with respect and fairness from the start of proceedings and throughout? Soul-destroying for friends and family of Ms. Gladue, the public interest, jury and court, and journalists who reported on this monstrous case. May they find healing, somehow. In my view, the original legal/judicial workings of this case were much more evil than the killing.

An important tweet in response:

Ophelia [email protected] Replying to @jonnywakefield

Found a non/racist justice and jury in Alberta finally?

Guilty verdict for man facing manslaughter for 2011 death of Cindy Gladue at Edmonton hotel by Jonny Wakefield with files from The Canadian Press, Feb 20, 2021, Edmonton Journal

Friends of Cindy Gladue, Lisa Weber,(left)  Brandy Poorman (middle) and Kari Thomason (right) talk to the media after Bradley Barton was found guilty of manslaughter for the killing of Gladue in an Edmonton hotel room nearly a decade ago. Taken on Friday, Feb. 19, 2021 in Edmonton.  Greg Southam-Postmedia
Friends of Cindy Gladue, Lisa Weber,(left) Brandy Poorman (middle) and Kari Thomason (right) talk to the media after Bradley Barton was found guilty of manslaughter for the killing of Gladue in an Edmonton hotel room nearly a decade ago. Taken on Friday, Feb. 19, 2021 in Edmonton. Photo by Greg Southam

After just 8 hours of deliberations, a jury has found an Ontario man guilty of manslaughter for the killing of Cindy Gladue at an Edmonton hotel room nearly a decade ago.

Bradley Barton slouched and looked down as the jury’s decision in the June 2011 death was revealed Friday night. Family and friends of Gladue, a 36-year old Métis and Cree woman, began crying in the public gallery.  

“We’re happy. Justice has been served,” Gladue’s friend Kari Thomason told reporters outside court.

Lisa Weber, the lawyer for Gladue’s mother, Donna McLeod, echoed that sentiment.

“In this case, we had a victim who was silenced and so she didn’t have the opportunity to tell her side of the story,” Weber said.

“This gives us some confidence that perhaps there is a chance we can have justice.”

Barton pleaded not guilty to manslaughter in Gladue’s death, testifying he arranged to pay her for sex at the Yellowhead Inn and was shocked when he woke the next morning to find her dead in the bathtub.

The Crown has argued that Barton performed a sexual act on Gladue while she was passed out and he dumped her in the bathtub where she bled to death.

Medical experts testified Gladue hemorrhaged from an 11-centimetre vaginal wound.

Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Stephen Hillier thanked the jury, calling the case an “absolutely tragic and very disturbing set of circumstances, which will have tested both your physical and mental endurance.” He said they will receive information about counselling.

Court will return next Friday to determine a sentencing date.

Defence lawyer Dino Bottos said he was disappointed in the verdict and would be considering options for appeal — in particular on the admission of Barton’s Internet search history. The jury heard that Barton searched for porn related to vaginas being ripped or torn by large objects nine days before Gladue’s death.

But he noted his client has been bankrupt since shortly after his arrest in 2011, meaning an appeal would be in part dependent on whether Legal Aid funds can be secured.

This was Barton’s second trial for Gladue’s death. In 2015, a jury acquitted him of both manslaughter and first-degree murder. Bottos said the 2015 acquittal “spawned a hew and cry across Alberta and then across the nation very quickly.”

“A large part of that was the belief that Cindy Gladue was treated inhumanely and in an undignified fashion at that trial,” he said. “I think there is some retribution being visited,” he said. “So that is part of the dynamic that we were up against.” The rampant racism and misogyny in Canada’s legal/judicial industry (and many other industries, including oil and gas) is galling and staggers the mind.

The case became a flashpoint and encapsulation of the issues sexual assault complainants and Indigenous people face in the criminal justice system.

In the first trial, Gladue was repeatedly referred to as “Native” and a “prostitute,” and in an unprecedented step, the Crown entered as evidence part of Gladue’s preserved vaginal tissue.

The Crown hoped the tissue — which was admitted over the protests of the defence — would illustrate the extent of the injury. Critics argued the move “completely dehumanized” Gladue in the eyes of jurors.

The Crown appealed Barton’s acquittal, and in 2017 the Alberta Court of Appeal overturned it and ordered a new murder trial.

The Supreme Court of Canada weighed in after Barton filed his own appeal, deciding there should be a new trial, but only on a charge of manslaughter.

A winding legal road

Both the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court identified a variety of legal issues with Barton’s first trial.

Both objected to the language used by the Crown, defence and witnesses to describe Gladue. The Court of Appeal took particular issue with Justice Robert Graesser’s jury charge, which it felt was “inadequate to counter the stigma and potential bias … that arose from the repeated references to Gladue as a ‘prostitute,’ ‘Native girl’ and ‘Native woman.’”

The court wrote: “Those references implicitly invited the jury to bring to the fact-finding process discriminatory beliefs or biases about the sexual availability of Indigenous women and especially those who engage in sexual activity for payment.”

The Supreme Court also found Graesser erred in failing to hold a hearing under Section 276 of the Criminal Code — Canada’s “rape shield” law — to determine whether details from Gladue’s first night with Barton were admissible before the jury. The section is designed to prevent an accused from arguing that a complainant’s prior sexual activities made her more likely to have consented to the sexual activity in question, or less worthy of belief.

“The criminal justice system did not deliver on its promise to afford her (Gladue) the law’s full protection,” the Supreme Court concluded.

“Her life mattered. She was valued. She was important. She was loved. Her status as an Indigenous woman who performed sex work did not change any of that in the slightest.”

However, while the court agreed Barton should face a second trial, a 4-3 majority ruled that the new trial should be for manslaughter, not murder.

Justice Michael Moldaver wrote that all other issues aside, the “simple and obvious” explanation for the acquittal was the first jury simply did not buy the Crown theory that Gladue’s wound was caused by a sharp object, which police never located.

An undated photo of Cindy Gladue, who died in Bradley Barton’s hotel room on June 22, 2011. Credit: Facebook

Bumps

Barton’s second trial lasted six weeks and hit two major bumps along the way.

The first was a COVID-19 scare that led to an adjournment, after Barton began displaying symptoms. While the court contemplated adjourning multiple weeks for Barton to quarantine, he eventually tested negative and was allowed to return to court with minimal time lost.

The second bump, on the final day of jury instruction, led to the dismissal of two jurors. The trial nearly went off the rails Thursday afternoon when one jury member reported that another juror had made what they thought were biased comments about sex workers. While two other jurors who supposedly heard the remarks could not corroborate the story, the juror alleged to have made the sex worker comments admitted their views under questioning from Hillier.

“I said that prostitution was bad, it was something that was bad from the get go,” the juror said. “None of this would have happened if that hadn’t been part of it.”

Bottos agreed the juror should be dismissed, noting the idea sex work is bad “could cut both ways” and negatively impact his client.

He also raised concerns about the impartiality of the juror who reported the remarks.

Both jurors were ultimately dismissed, bringing the final number to 11.

Differences

There were four key differences between Barton’s first and second trials.

For one, the Crown abandoned the theory that Gladue’s injury was caused by a sharp object. In the second trial, Crown and defence agreed the wound was a result of blunt force. Both sides accepted the injury occurred when Barton inserted his hand into Gladue’s vagina past his base knuckles — a width of about 11 cm.

The second jury, unlike the first, also heard details about Barton’s internet search history. Court heard that on June 13, 2011 — nine days before Gladue’s death — Barton searched for porn related to vaginas being ripped or torn by large objects. The evidence was excluded from Barton’s first trial. At the time, Bottos argued the evidence was “completely prejudicial and of no probative value.”

In the latest trial, Barton claimed he only sought images of vaginas being “stretched.” In his closing arguments, Bottos called the search history “that stink in the air. Those terrible words. That (Barton) … harboured some perverted fantasy to hurt Ms. Gladue.” He maintained the Crown had no proof what images Barton actually saw.

Third, there were differences in the language used to refer to Gladue. Both sides took steps to affirm her humanity. Too late. Way too late. Justice Hillier issued multiple sets of instructions urging jurors to discard any stereotypical notions about sex workers and Indigenous people.

Finally, the Crown did not use Gladue’s physical tissue as an exhibit in the second trial. To explain Gladue’s injury, prosecutors turned to photos of the autopsy and the scene itself. The photos were themselves shocking. They included shots of the bathtub where Gladue died — dark, heavy blood on the bottom of the shower curtain, bloody footprints smeared on the shower wall. In one instance, the defence projected an image of Gladue as she was found on June 22. The court warned Gladue’s family moments before, allowing them to leave the room.

Room 139 of the Yellowhead Inn, where Cindy Gladue died on June 22, 2011. photo credit court exhibit.
Room 139 of the Yellowhead Inn, where Cindy Gladue died on June 22, 2011. photo credit court exhibit.

The defence case

Barton, a 52-year-old trucker from Mississauga, Ont., was in Edmonton in June 2011 for a moving job. He worked for a subsidiary of Allied Van Lines, and was moving 45,000 pounds of furniture, vehicles and other household items from Soda Springs, Idaho, to an acreage outside Edmonton.

He rented a room at the Yellowhead Inn when he realized a smaller truck would be needed to move items from the big rigs to the home.

On June 20, 2011, while smoking outside the hotel bar, Barton asked a man scrounging for cigarette butts whether he had “any lady friends.” The man rode off on a bike and returned with Gladue.

Barton said he and Gladue had sex in his hotel room, after he negotiated her asking price down nearly 40 per cent. He claimed that on the first night, he inserted his fingers into her vagina in a conical shape. The night appears to have ended amicably, with Barton walking Gladue to the door of the hotel.

Barton texted Gladue the next night and drank with her and a colleague until last call. Before retiring to his room, Barton asked the colleague if he’d like a “piece” of Gladue. “What happens on the road, stays on the road,” Barton replied when the colleague declined. A married father of twin boys, Barton said he didn’t want his family finding out he paid for sex.

What happened next was the dispute at the heart of the trial. In Barton’s telling, he once again inserted his fingers into Gladue — past his base knuckles — while she performed oral sex on him. After a few minutes, he removed his fingers and noticed blood. Believing she was on her period, Barton told Gladue he wouldn’t pay her, then fell asleep while she used the washroom.

Barton claims he woke the next morning to find Gladue’s body in the blood-soaked tub. He panicked, cleaned a small amount of blood off his feet, left the room, disposed of the towel in a waste bin, made coffee, then checked out of his room. He sought the advice of John Sullivan, a senior co-worker, who urged Barton to call police.

Barton did so, but only after retrieving a key to the room, claiming he forgot some papers. He lied to the 911 operator, claiming he didn’t know the woman. He lied to police when they arrived on scene, and to Karen Ockerman, the homicide detective who interviewed him at police headquarters. Barton claimed he met the woman at the hotel bar, declined her sexual advances, but allowed her to use his shower while he dozed off.

Barton maintains he lied in a state of panic after finding Gladue’s body. Defence lawyer Bottos acknowledged the lies were “pathetically inept, half-baked, easily disproved.” These were not the lies of someone who had stayed up all night “plotting how to get away with it.”

“The reason the Crown has spent so much time questioning him about his lies is because they don’t have much else.”

Bottos said the physical evidence supports Barton’s story. He pointed to flecks of blood in the toilet bowl — suggesting Gladue walked to the bathroom and sat on the toilet after being injured. He said the lack of blood where Gladue had been seated on the bed in Barton’s version may have been the result of police confusing the top and bottom of the bedspread. He said Gladue may have staunched the bleeding with the bedspread before abandoning it on the bedroom floor — explaining the lack of blood between the bed and the bathroom.

The defence also called a California OB-GYN who testified certain women may have below-average vaginal wall strength. To blame the victim?

Bottos also noted that at least three people knew Barton was alone in the room with Gladue. Knowing that, why would Barton intentionally harm her?

Bradley Barton and Cindy Gladue are shown on surveillance video at the Yellowhead Inn on the first of two nights the pair spent together. Supplied by court

The Crown case

The Crown maintains Barton is still lying about what happened to Gladue. Prosecutors argued Barton violently sexually assaulted her while she lay heavily intoxicated on the bed, then allowed her to bleed to death.

“Mr. Barton viewed Ms. Gladue as a piece of property that he could purchase and do with as he pleased,” prosecutor Lawrence Van Dyke told jurors during closing arguments. “Her resistances were down. He took advantage of this opportunity to experiment with thrusting his large hand in and out of her vagina.

“He did this without Ms. Gladue’s consent, and without ever bothering or caring to obtain her consent.

“He was aware that this could seriously injure her, based on his previous Google searches, but he persisted recklessly.”

The Crown argues that when Gladue began to bleed, Barton picked her up in the bedspread, then “dumped” her in the bathtub. That explained the lack of blood between the bed and the bathroom, Van Dyke argued.

“He was faced with a choice at that moment — he could save her, or silence her. He chose to not call for medical help because he did not want her to tell anyone what he had done to her. Instead, he simply let her bleed to death in the bathtub.”

Crown prosecutor Julie Snowdon grilled Barton for three days during cross examination, focused largely on his dishonesty. She said Barton came up with detailed, intricate lies, all of which portrayed himself as a good man in an unfortunate situation. “You weren’t panicking, you were calculating.”

Snowdown argued Barton’s first instinct was to flee. She pointed to Barton’s comment to an undercover officer in a prisoner transport van. Barton told the man a cover story, claiming a pair of “swampers” trashed his room and killed the woman while he slept in his truck, pinning him with the crime.

“If I f—ing did it I would have buried the girl,” Barton said. “F—ing wrapped her up in my carry out or my truck, cleaned the room up. She would have disappeared down the highway f—ing 2,000 miles away from here.”

The Crown also argued Barton’s story did not align with the physical evidence. There was no blood on the lower left side of the bedspread, where Barton claimed Gladue was seated when she began bleeding. Snowdon also said Barton’s description of the fatal sex act made no anatomical sense (Barton claims he inserted his hand into Gladue’s vagina while she was seated on the bed).

“Mr. Barton asks you to have a doubt that the entire events of June 2011 were just a series of unfortunate coincidences,” Van Dyke said.

“The entirety of the evidence cries out loud and clear, and proves beyond a reasonable doubt that Bradley Barton violently sexually assaulted Cindy Gladue … and in so doing unlawfully caused her death,” Van Dyke told jurors.

Bradley Barton found guilty in 2011 death of Cindy Gladue, New trial was ordered by Supreme Court in 2019 by CBC News, Feb 19, 2021

The man accused of fatally injuring Cindy Gladue inside a west Edmonton hotel suite nearly 10 years ago has been found guilty of manslaughter.

It took the 11-person jury about nine hours Friday to convict Bradley Barton, 52, in Gladue’s death.

2 jurors dismissed as fate of Bradley Barton is decided by Chris Stewart Feb 19, 2021, APTN News

Two of the jurors involved in the manslaughter trial of Bradley Barton have been dismissed forcing the court to bring in the 13th juror to deliberate the case.

During Thursday’s charge to the jury, as Justice Stephen Hillier was instructing the jury on how to come to a verdict when it was decided that one juror was potentially not impartial, and another may have been trying to sway the opinions of other jurors.

Eleven jurors are now sequestered to find a verdict.

Barton is facing a charge of manslaughter in the death of Cindy Gladue.

Gladue died from massive blood loss in June of 2011 at an Edmonton Hotel.

Barton is accused of injuring Gladue in a rough sex act, which caused her to begin bleeding.

Barton says the sex was consensual.

During the trial, he said that Gladue never showed any discomfort or showed signs of pain during their two nights of sex.

Prosecutors say that Gladue was incapacitated due to her level of drinking.

They told the jury that Barton repeatedly lied to police about what happened that evening and morning, when he found Gladue’s body in the bathroom of the hotel.

Barton’s lawyer, Dino Bottos said Barton lied because he was confused, terrified and in a state of shock.

If convicted of manslaughter, Barton could face a life sentence in prison.

Refer also to:

2017: Enabling sexual predators? Enabling Canadian judges revictimizing sexual assault victims? Enabling Canada’s demented abusive legal system? Threatening sexual assault victims to keep silent? Galling, throw-women-back-into-the-cave statements to Criminal Lawyers’ Association by Canada’s Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 2017-06-Malcolm-Mayes-Cartoon-Neanderthal-Alberta-Justice-system-assaults-sexual-assualt-victims.jpg

It is impossible for me to get this Malcolm Mayes cartoon out of my heart.

2017: “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.”

“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.”

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

… The prosecutor and judge presumably believed that jailing Ms. Cardinal was in the public interest Holy judicial cow! That’s demented! But nothing surprises me anymore in racist, bigoted, misogynistic Caveman Canada, Alberta especially. …. But in doing so they took away her liberty, and they did so in a way that violated the most basic norms of due process and the rule of law.

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

2017: Tuesday’s letters: Victim’s treatment shakes faith in justice system

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.

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

A comment to one of the 2017 articles on the Cardinal case from Judicial Hell:

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.

2017: Paula Simons: Apology too little, too late, for sexual assault victim sent to remand centre

… 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. 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.

A few of the comments:

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!

Mina Lee:

….it’s so disturbing we have judges like this — and he was the former deputy minister of justice?! What a joke!

2017: Braid: Sex assault victim sought justice, instead she was shackled and jailed

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? …

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. …

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.

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.

2017: ‘Great unfairness’: 2 more sex assault cases where victims were jailed to ensure their court testimony

2017: 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.”

2019: “It’s the judges!” enabling rape and murder of women. No kidding. In Canada too.

2019: Gillian Hnatiw, Canadian lawyer, female: “Fundamentally, the law is about power – who has it, who gets it, and how they are allowed to wield it. … Yet evidence of misogyny remains all around us.

2019: Why Society Goes Easy on Rapists, Our criminal justice system still doesn’t take seriously one of the most heinous acts a person can commit. Because too many misogynists/rapists/pedophiles in politics appoint their mirror image to the bench?

2020: As expected, the rapist’s future and “good family” privilege strikes again (systemic?): Judicial industry gives convicted serial rapist Matthew McKnight everything his defence asked for. Disgusting. Horrifying. He’ll likely be out in 2 years or less, free to rape again and again and again. “I’m saddened for the victims of McKnight who also became victims of Justice Sulyma.”

One of the most unspeakably brutal cases I have followed is R v Barton. The disrespect shown to Ms. Gladue in that trial was horrific.

Specifically, because Ms. Gladue is deceased, I should make it clear that what was particularly eggregious, at trial, is how Ms. Gladue’s preserved pelvic tissue was displayed and that “by error” a shot of Ms. Gladue’s dead body was flashed in court which her mother saw.

Representing McKnight was Bottos, a prominent defence lawyer who’d been involved in a number of controversial and high-profile cases, including representing Bradley Barton in the death of Cindy Gladue in 2011. The not-guilty verdict in that case sparked protests around the country and was ultimately overturned at the Supreme Court of Canada, slated for retrial in 2021.

2021: Happy V Day 2021: One billion rising: “We are asking for justice!” “No more rape or incest or abuse. Women are not a possession.”

Enter, listen, look, heal:

Catherine Mc Gagh & Marie Evans Merlin’s Healing Beech Tree, the Art of Soul Retrieval

19 th February – 13 th March 2021

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