EDMONTON — The lawyer for an Ontario truck driver who killed a woman in his Edmonton hotel room a decade ago is asking that his client be sentenced to about half the time called for by the Crown.
Dino Bottos told court Tuesday that Bradley Barton, 53, should be sentenced to no more than nine years in prison for the manslaughter of Cindy Gladue, a 36-year-old Métis and Cree woman.
The Crown has argued for 18 to 20 years because Gladue was vulnerable as an Indigenous woman working in the sex trade. Prosecutor Lawrence Van Dyke added her vulnerability was aggravated because she was killed in an extremely violent way and had four times the legal limit of alcohol in her system.
“But we have to guard against imposing a sense of unbridled punishment, unbridled vengeance,” Bottos told Queen’s Bench Justice Stephen Hillier on the second day of Barton’s three-day sentencing hearing.
“We have to guard against making Mr. Barton pay for all of the systemic inequities and indignities visited upon Indigenous females and Indigenous victims. He will have to pay for his own sins, but I suggest he can’t be made to pay for the sins of our fathers.”
Barton was convicted in February of killing the mother of three at the Yellowhead Inn in 2011.
Barton testified that he had arranged to pay Gladue for “rough sex” in his room and was shocked when he woke in the morning to find her dead and covered in blood in the bathtub.
Prosecutors argued that while Gladue was passed out, Barton performed a sexual act that caused a severe wound to her vagina. They said he then picked her up, dumped her in the tub and left her to bleed to death.
It was the second trial for Barton. A jury found him not guilty in 2015 of first-degree murder, which sparked rallies and calls for justice for Indigenous women.
Indigenous groups, lawyers and community members said they were appalled when Gladue’s preserved vaginal tissue was presented in court during the first trial. She was also repeatedly referred to as a “native” and a “prostitute.”
Bottos argued Tuesday that the Crown has not proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Barton intended to kill Gladue, since witnesses testified they met two nights in a row, signalling Barton twice had Gladue’s consent for sex.
Bottos added Barton testified he didn’t see Gladue bleeding or wasn’t aware she was injured, and the Crown did not prove otherwise.
“I suggest respectfully that Mr. Barton did not at all wish to harm her or foresee harming her. You can’t conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Barton knew the extent of her injury.”
The Crown argued that there is no evidence to suggest Barton won’t reoffend after he completes his sentence. But Bottos read a character letter to the judge written by one of Barton’s stepsons to suggest there’s no evidence he will.
“Brad has contributed to putting a roof over our head, and being a father figure,” said his son in the letter.
“He has always been a good man to my mom, helping where he could with what he could. I believe Brad over the years has displayed many great characteristics and has done his best to be a good man.”
Bottos said Barton is an uneducated, simple man who should be sentenced to denounce the killing.
“But he won’t need to be sentenced because society needs protection from him,” Bottos said.
“I suggest Mr. Barton is just a man … in the unenviable position of having to justify his every word and action from 10 years ago.”
Crown prosecutors are expected to make rebuttal arguments Wednesday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 29, 2021.
This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.
Fakiha Baig, The Canadian Press