Homicide & Manslaughter, In the News
Article Source: The Edmonton Journal
BY RYAN CORMIER, EDMONTON JOURNAL APRIL 2, 2015
Editor’s Note: This story contains graphic content.
EDMONTON – Crown prosecutors have filed an appeal in the Cindy Gladue murder case that states serious enough errors were made in the jury instructions to warrant a new trial.
On March 18, Bradley Barton of Ontario was acquitted of first-degree murder in Gladue’s June 2011 death at the Yellowhead Inn. That acquittal, prosecutors stated in their appeal, should be set aside because of errors in the jury instructions by Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Robert Graesser.
In their notice of appeal, prosecutors state the jury was wrongly instructed on issues relating to manslaughter and motive. During jury instructions, the nine men and two women were told they could convict Barton of first-degree murder, convict him of the lesser offence of manslaughter or acquit him.
Barton’s lawyer, Dino Bottos, said he was disappointed prosecutors filed an appeal.
“The trial judge was extremely fair to both sides in this trial,” Bottos said. “I’m disappointed that because the Crown lost a few rulings that it feels it has grounds to appeal Mr. Barton’s acquittal.”
Specifically, Bottos said Graesser’s jury instructions were fair.
At trial, Gladue’s preserved vagina was brought into court to show jurors the details of the 11-centimetre wound that caused her to bleed to death in a motel room bathtub. The trial hinged on whether the wound was caused by Barton’s fingers during sex, as he claimed, or a sharp weapon, as the prosecution argued.
Barton, a 46-year-old truck driver, and Gladue, a 36-year-old sex-trade worker, met in his hotel room on two nights. The first night, they left the room hand-in-hand. The second night was Gladue’s last alive. Court heard both of them had been drinking.
The prosecution’s appeal also states Graesser erred when he told the jury that Gladue’s consent on the first night she and Barton had sex in his hotel room “could be used to support a finding of honest but mistaken belief in consent” on the second night.
Prosecutors will argue there should have been a hearing on instructions regarding consent.
Both the defence and prosecution helped Graesser write the instructions read to the jury.
“The death of Cindy Gladue was shocking and appalling,” chief Crown prosecutor Michelle Doyle said in a statement. “It also resulted in significant harm to her family and the community, and the Alberta Crown Prosecution Service continues to take that very seriously.”
A date for the appeal has not been scheduled.
Prosecutors filed the appeal two weeks into the 30-day appeal period, one day before numerous events were held across Canada to protest the acquittal.
Bottos had “no comment” about whether public pressure may have been a factor in the appeal.
During the trial, jurors weren’t told of evidence that investigators discovered on Barton’s laptop. Police found Barton had previously visited websites depicting violent pornography that included the torture of women.
Barton was originally charged with second-degree murder, but prosecutors charged him with first-degree murder after his preliminary hearing.