As the Supreme Court prepares to hear questions in a controversial Edmonton hotel killing case, Central Albertans held signs and lit candles to honour the woman who died.
About 30 people attended a candlelight vigil for Cindy Gladue, held by the Red Feather Women of Red Deer, in front of the Red Deer Provincial Court House Wednesday evening.
Bradley Barton, an Ontario trucker, said Gladue died after a night of consensual, rough sex in an Edmonton motel in June 2011. Her body was found in the bathtub after Barton called 911. She had an 11-centimetre cut in her vagina and bled to death.
A jury found Barton not guilty of first-degree murder and manslaughter in 2015.
Theresa “Corky” Larsen Jonasson, with the Red Feather Women, said the story of Gladue’s death is heart-wrenching.
“We were all taken out at the knees when we found out he was acquitted. We believe she didn’t get a fair trial because of her background.
“As long as things like this keep happening, we’re going to be here. And it keeps happening,” she said.
The Crown appealed the not guilty verdict following nationwide protests and the Alberta Court of Appeal ordered a new trial.
The Appeal Court ruled serious errors were made in the original trial and in the judge’s charge to the jury about Barton’s conduct and on sexual assault legislation as it pertains to consent.
The sentence will be appealed in Ottawa’s Supreme Court Thursday. The court will hear arguments on several procedural matters, including the role of interveners, but may also decide for the first time whether an “objective likelihood of harm” cancels out sexual consent.
The Alberta Crown, as well as attorney generals in other provinces, including Ontario, is arguing for such an addition to the law.
Dino Bottos, Barton’s lawyer, said it would be a big deal if the top court agrees. He plans to argue that the Crown brought up the consent versus harm argument on appeal – not at trial – and it shouldn’t affect his client’s case.
Barton has testified that he hired Gladue for two nights of sex. He said he found her dead in the tub when he woke up after the second night.
A medical examiner testified that the wound to Gladue’s vaginal wall was likely caused by a sharp object and, in a rare move, he used Gladue’s preserved vaginal tissue as an exhibit.
–With files from The Canadian Press