The Canadian Press
Defence lawyers are asking the country’s top court to weigh in on the case of an Ontario trucker accused of murdering Cindy Gladue.
Lawyers for Bradley Barton have filed an application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.
Barton was originally acquitted by a jury of first-degree murder in the death of Gladue.
The Alberta Court of Appeal ordered a new trial in June, ruling serious errors were made during the trial and the judge’s charge to the jury about Barton’s conduct and on the law of sexual assault relating to consent.
Gladue, a 36-year-old mother of three, was found in a bathtub in an Edmonton motel room in 2011. She bled to death from a vaginal wound after a night of what Barton described as consensual, rough sex.
The appeal ruling was applauded by advocates who said they hoped it would change the way courts deal with Indigenous women and sexual offences.
In a news release Wednesday, the law firm of Dino Bottos said the Appeal Court made several serious mistakes, including changing the law “in dramatic fashion, imposing a raft of mandatory new jury instructions that previously were matters for the trial judge’s discretion.”
The firm said it wants the acquittal to stand and says the case is especially deserving of being heard by the Supreme Court.
“At all levels the case has generated an inordinate amount of media attention, stimulating nationwide discussion about the issues raised. Furthermore, the stakes of this appeal for the applicant could not be higher, as the case involves the reversal of an acquittal granted by a jury to a charge of first-degree murder.”
GRAPHIC WARNING: This story contains details that may disturb some readers.
Barton’s trial heard that he hired Gladue for two nights of sex in June 2011. He testified that during both nights he put his fist in her vagina, and on the second night she started bleeding.
Barton said when he woke up the next morning, he found her dead in the tub and phoned 911.
A medical examiner testified for the Crown that an 11-centimetre cut in Gladue’s vagina wall was caused by a sharp object.
Gladue’s vagina had been preserved and, in an unusual move, the examiner used it as an exhibit as he described the wound to the jury.
The Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women and the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund took exception to the Crown’s decision to use Gladue’s preserved vagina as evidence in the trial.
They said Gladue’s family has never been able to properly bury her because they don’t have all of her remains.
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