EDMONTON — Alberta prosecutors will appeal the acquittal of an Ontario trucker charged with the murder of an aboriginal woman.
A jury found Bradley Barton not guilty last month of first-degree murder in the death of Cindy Gladue.
The 36-year-old prostitute bled to death and her body was found in a bathtub in an Edmonton motel room.
The Crown had argued at trial that Gladue had been cut with a weapon, but the defence attributed the injury to rough sex.
Rallies in several cities across the country were planned Thursday to protest the verdict.
Fawn Lamouche, who helped organize the rally in Edmonton, was happy to learn about the appeal.
“We really hope we can get justice in this case for Cindy and her family,” she said. “Hopefully this brings about some change for the way that we, as indigenous people, are treated by the justice system.”
WARNING: CONTENT MAY DISTURB SOME READERS
The month-long trial heard that Barton had hired Gladue for two nights of sex in June 2011.
He testified that he put his fist in her vagina on the first evening. On the next evening, after some drinking, he did the same — but she started bleeding. When she went to the bathroom, he fell asleep, he said.
The next morning he found her body in the tub, he said. He later called 911.
Barton told the jury the sex was consensual.
The Crown called a medical examiner at the trial, who testified that an 11-centimetre cut to the woman’s vaginal wall had been caused by a sharp object. The victim’s vagina had been preserved and the medical expert used that exhibit as he described the fatal wound to the jury.
It’s believed to be the first time that human tissue has been presented as evidence in a Canadian trial, said Barton’s lawyer Dino Bottos. He opposed the use of the body part, arguing that it was too disturbing and would inflame the jury.
The Crown said it was important for the jury to see and added that some autopsy photos were not as clear as they could have been.
Critics have said the use of Gladue’s tissue at trial was disrespectful.
Alberta Justice said it couldn’t comment on facts of the case because of the appeal.
In a release, Chief Crown prosecutor Michelle Doyle called Gladue’s death “shocking and appalling.”
“It also resulted in significant harm to her family and the community and the (Alberta Crown Prosecution Services) continues to take that very seriously.”