Alberta sex attacker loses bid for mistrial

EDMONTON — An Alberta man convicted of the brutal sex attack of an Indigenous woman whom the Crown had jailed to ensure her testimony has lost a bid for a mistrial.

Lance David Blanchard was found guilty in December of aggravated sexual assault, aggravated assault, kidnapping, unlawful confinement, possession of a weapon and making a death threat in the 2014 attack.

The victim, a 28-year-old homeless woman, died in 2015 in an unrelated shooting.

The mistrial application focused on new evidence from Wayne Wilcox, an Edmonton Remand Centre inmate who said the woman was a hard-drug addict and made a living by robbing people.

In his ruling, Justice Eric Macklin of Court of Queen’s Bench said the new evidence was fabricated and has no credibility.

“I do not believe the evidence of Wayne Wilcox,” Macklin wrote in a judgment released Friday.

“The applicant (Blanchard) has failed to meet the test for re-opening the defence case. His application for a mistrial is dismissed.”

Macklin also dismissed Wilcox’s testimony that suggested the victim lied to police about the sexual and aggravated assaults.

The judge noted that Blanchard’s evidence that he attacked the woman to prevent her from stealing his property, including a box of Kraft Dinner, wasn’t credible.

Macklin noted that Blanchard stands almost 6-foot-11 and weighed 260 pounds at the time. He is trained in the martial arts and has been in more than 100 fights during his time in prison.

The woman, who can’t be identified due to a publication ban, was 5-feet tall and weighed 109 pounds.

“Nothing in this proposed new evidence bears on a potentially decisive issue or could affect the result,” he wrote.

In January, Blanchard is scheduled for a dangerous offender hearing that could lead to him being jailed indefinitely.

Tom Engel, Blanchard’s lawyer, declined to comment on Macklin’s ruling Friday.

A second application for a stay/mistrial is to be heard on Aug. 21. Engel contends the Crown failed to provide proper, full and timely disclosure in the case.

The treatment of the victim by the justice system made national headlines earlier this year when it became public that a judge granted a request by the Crown to keep the woman in the Remand Centre during a 2015 preliminary hearing for Blanchard to ensure that she would be available to testify.

The woman, who was originally from Maskwacis, Alta., had to ride in the same prisoner van as her attacker on a least two occasions.

Alberta Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley has called the woman’s treatment disturbing and has ordered two investigations into what happened.

John Cotter, The Canadian Press

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