Indigenous people gather for a ceremony for Cindy Gladue held at the courthouse in Edmonton, Alta, on Wednesday, January 13, 2021. Bradley Barton, a 52-year-old long-haul truck driver from Ontario on trial for manslaughter, is accused of killing Gladue. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Indigenous people gather for a ceremony for Cindy Gladue held at the courthouse in Edmonton, Alta, on Wednesday, January 13, 2021. Bradley Barton, a 52-year-old long-haul truck driver from Ontario on trial for manslaughter, is accused of killing Gladue. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

People stand in support of mother as new trial gets underway in death of Cindy Gladue

Bradley Barton, a long-haul truck driver from Ontario, will now be tried for manslaughter in the 2011 death

By Shari Narine, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Windspeaker.com

A small group gathered in ceremony for Cindy Gladue outside the courthouse in Edmonton on Jan. 13. Two days earlier, the retrial of the man accused of causing her death commenced.

Bradley Barton, a long-haul truck driver from Ontario, will now be tried for manslaughter in the 2011 death. Barton was acquitted in 2015 of first-degree murder and manslaughter. That decision was later overturned by the Alberta Court of Appeal and the case went to the Supreme Court of Canada where a retrial was ordered on the lesser charge.

“When you know your daughter has died and this man was proven not guilty, I can’t imagine what (Gladue’s mother) must feel like,” said Bernadette Iahtail, who spoke at the ceremony, which she said was about showing unity.

“It’s about standing side-by-side and letting her know we’re there for her emotionally, spiritually and hoping that justice will be done.”

Iahtail, a long-time Indigenous advocate and founder of Creating Hope Society, said she woke up in the morning and knew she had to speak. She meditated on her words in her morning prayer.

“Justice for Cindy Gladue, who did not get, I believe, a proper court case and the fact that we all matter. All of us matter and the thing is we look at the court system, at the justice system where injustices continue happening to our Indigenous people, such as Cindy Gladue, Tina Fontaine, Colten Boushie,” said Iahtail.

Fontaine, 15, was reported missing and died in Winnipeg in August 2014. Her body was pulled from the Red River. Raymond Cormier, 56, was charged almost a year later. He was acquitted by a jury of second-degree murder in February 2018. Boushie, 22, was shot and killed by Gerald Stanley in August 2016. Stanley was acquitted by a jury of second-degree murder in February 2018.

Gladue, a Metis woman and mother, bled to death in an Edmonton motel room after sexual activity, described as rough, that Barton has admitted taking part in but said was consensual. Dr. Erin Bader, an OB-GYN at the Royal Alexandra Hospital, testified that excessive force caused an 11-centimetre wound to Gladue’s vaginal wall, which led to the blood loss.

The ceremony for Gladue was planned by the Stolen Sisters and Brothers Action Movement. The turnout was purposely limited because of coronavirus pandemic measures.

Lisa Weber, president of the Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women (IAAW), is legal counsel for Gladue’s mother, Donna McLeod.

“I’ve been going to the trial with the mother as her counsel … just to ensure she understands the process and to be there as support for her,” Weber said.

IAAW and the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF) were integral in pushing the Barton case all the way to the Supreme Court.

“IAAW and LEAF played an appropriate role as interveners at the Alberta Court of Appeal,” stated the Supreme Court in the overview of the issues.

“Their submissions addressed the issues raised by the Crown and their references to the factual record were appropriate and necessary in the context of a jury trial, particularly a trial in which discriminatory myths and stereotypes had become part of the evidentiary record.”

IAAW and LEAF were among a number of interveners “who took on the difficult, and often uncompensated, work of challenging discrimination in law. The work of Indigenous women, feminist legal interveners, and community advocates was fundamental (in) the Court’s recognition of this atrocity,” said LEAF in a May 2019 publication on its website.

The Supreme Court found that the court failed to protect Gladue, allowing the jury to hear about her sexual history and allowed racism and prejudice to enter the courtroom.

“As an additional safeguard going forward, in sexual assault cases where the complainant is an Indigenous woman or girl, trial judges would be well advised to provide an express instruction aimed at countering prejudice against Indigenous women and girls,” wrote Justice Michael Moldaver in the Surpreme Court’s decision.

“Paraphrasing, the Criminal Code requires that myths and stereotypes don’t make their way into the trial process… as the Supreme Court used the language around the judge as a gatekeeper to ensure that the law is upheld,” said Weber.

“The Supreme Court confirmed what the law is, and therefore, as I would expect like any citizen, we would expect that the court adhere to the law as it was then and is now and just trust that the process should work and that there is a proper trial.”

Weber would not comment on whether she has seen that change in tone so far during the trial.

Weber said she will continue to attend court as long as McLeod wants her to.

The trial is expected to last seven weeks.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw acknowledged that Friday would be one year since the first case of COVID-19 was identified in the province. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Three more Red Deer COVID-19 deaths, 331 active cases in Alberta

Red Deer is down to 362 active cases of the virus

The concept design for the spray park and playground in Pogadl Park. (Photo Courtesy of Canadian Recreation Solutions)
Sylvan Lake spray park tentatively scheduled to open next year

Sylvan Lake Town Council approved the tender of the spray park and playground in Pogadl Park

Alberta's chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw says Albertans need to keep making safe choices to start bending the curve back down. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
One new COVID-19 death in Red Deer, 257 additional cases province-wide

Red Deer sits at 459 active cases of the virus

One of the oil paintings stolen from a season home near the boat launch on Kuusamo Krest. (Photo Submitted)
Sylvan Lake RCMP search for paintings stolen from vacation home

Three original paintings were reportedly stolen from a seasonal home

A health-care worker looks at a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Palais de Congress site as Quebec begins mass vaccinations based on age across the province, Monday, March 1, 2021 in Montreal.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Nearly 1 million COVID-19 vaccine doses arriving in Canada this week: Anand

Anita Anand says she’s received assurances from the vaccine manufacturer

This Dec. 2, 2020 photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows vials of its Janssen subsidiary’s COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Johnson & Johnson via AP
Canada approves Johnson & Johnson’s 1-shot COVID-19 vaccine

It is the 4th vaccine approved in Canada and the 1st that requires just a single dose

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
Pandemic stress, isolation key factors as to why Canadians turned to cannabis, alcohol

Study found that isolation played key role in Canadians’ substance use

Backcountry skiers are dwarfed by the mountains as they make their way along a mountain ridge near McGillivray Pass Lodge located in the southern Chilcotin Mountains of British Columbia, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2012. Avalanche Canada has issued a special warning to people who use the backcountry in the mountains of western Alberta and eastern British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Avalanche Canada special warning for mountains in western Alberta, eastern B.C.

Avalanche Canada also says everyone in a backcountry party needs essential rescue gear

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada has secured through a deal with the Serum Institute of India in partnership with Verity Pharma at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
Federal panel recommends 4-month gap between COVID vaccine doses due to limited supply

The recommendation applies to all COVID-19 vaccines currently approved in Canada

hands
The call is out in Rimbey to sign on with a group that is all about building connections

‘Already, we are building a network where we can rely on each other and help each other out’

FILE - Dolly Parton arrives at the 61st annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 10, 2019, in Los Angeles. The Grammy-winning singer, actor and humanitarian posted a video on Tuesday, March 2, 2021, of her singing just before getting her COVID-19 vaccine shot. Parton donated $1 million to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee for coronavirus research. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)
‘Vaccine, vaccine’: Dolly sings ‘Jolene’ rewrite before shot

The Grammy-winning legend turned 75 this year

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland speaks about the Fiscal update during a news conference in Ottawa, Monday November 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
COVID-19: Wage and rent subsidies, lockdown support to be extended until June

Chrystia Freeland says now is not time to lower levels of support

Many rural seniors are having to travel a long way to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Stettler residents are being told to go to Red Deer, Drumheller or Camrose. (Black Press file photo).
Rural central Alberta seniors have to travel far to get vaccines

Stettler residents are being directed to Red Deer, Drumheller or Camrose clinics

Most Read