As a woman in this country, sometimes I think the real question is: When do we start rioting? Earlier this week Ontario resident Bradley Barton was acquitted in the murder of Cindy Gladue, an Aboriginal sex worker. Gladue died four years ago, in a hotel bathtub in Edmonton. Barton is the one who called it in. He told 911 operators that he’d found an unknown woman dead in his hotel bathroom, but CCTV later revealed that Barton and Gladue had spent time together over the previous two evenings. In court, Barton pleaded that her death was accidental, a result of rough sex. Gladue bled to death, caused by an eleven-centimetre stab wound along the right side of her vagina. Acting chief medical examiner Graeme Dowling testified that considerable force would have been needed to cause the wound.
No one consents to that level of violence. Gladue, in fact, was not in form to consciously consent to anything — toxicology reports showed her blood alcohol level was four times the legal driving limit. The almost all-male, all-white jury took only a day and a half to come to their decision.
I hear news like this and get despondent. Cindy Gladue also had a life. She also had a story.
When asked point blank about the possibility of launching a public inquiry into the crisis of missing and murdered aboriginal women, Prime Minister Harper recently said “it isn’t high on our radar, to be honest.” This crisis is high on my radar: that’s why I’m asking you to add your voice to the growing demand for an appeal to this verdict.
You can help. Now is a moment where we can stand together and take action. Please help us urge the Crown to initiate an appeal. Crown Prosecutor Carole Godfrey has only 26 days left to initiate an appeal for a retrial. My understanding is that the appeal will have to be approved by Solicitor General Jonathan Denis. Please write to them both.
To Crown Prosecutor Carole Godfrey: Please respectfully request that she initiate an appeal to retry Bradley Barton for the original charges of second-degree murder. The grounds for appeal include the gross miscarriage of justice; bias on a jury with few or no women and no people of colour. Express your moral outrage that Bradley Barton is free to go, after he left Cindy Gladue to bleed to death in a hotel bathtub.
Crown Prosecutor Carole Godfrey
6th Floor, J.E. Brownlee Building
10365 – 97th Street
Edmonton, AB T5J 3W7
Write to Alberta Justice Minister and Solicitor General Jonathan Denis. Express your moral outrage, grave concern for public safety and the miscarriage of justice for Cindy Gladue. Tell him your letter is a vote of non-confidence from us, Gladue’s fellow citizens, in the verdict of not guilty for Bradley Barton, the man who caused her violent death.
Honourable Jonathan Denis QC MLA
Minister of Justice and Solicitor General
3rd floor, Bowker Building, 9833 – 109 Street.
Edmonton, Alberta, T5K 2E8,
Letters written on paper are more meaningful than emails. Write your letter and send it both ways, by post and by email. Media: Send your letters (or write new ones) to the editors of the Edmonton Journal, the Edmonton Sun, the Calgary Herald, the National Post, and the Globe and Mail. We can fight this verdict, and make our voices heard. No more missing women. No more missing girls.