Supreme Court Rules 4-3 for New Trial in Death of Cindy Gladue

The Supreme Court of Canada today struck down the country's prostitution laws in a unanimous 9-0 ruling
The Supreme Court of Canada

OTTAWA – The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that an Ontario man will face a new trial in the homicide of Cindy Gladue. Bradley David Barton was tried in the case and a jury acquitted him in his first trial.

Today, the Supreme Court ruled that another trial will happen. The 4-3 decision by the top court In a 4-3 decision comes as the Supreme Court says that evidence about Cindy Gladue’s sexual history was mishandled at the jury trial in Edmonton which resulted in Barton’s acquittal on a charge of first-degree murder.

The jury ruling created massive protest across Canada, especially with Indigenous people and organizations. It was felt the ruling sent a message that the lives of Indigenous women were worth less in Canada that the lives of non-Indigenous women.

Case Details

Cindy Gladue bled to death in the bathtub of Mr. Barton’s hotel room. An injury to her vaginal wall caused her death. Mr. Barton admitted that he hired Ms. Gladue as a sex trade worker. He claimed that the injury was an accident that occurred during consensual sexual activity and she bled to death in the bathtub after he fell asleep.

The Crown counsel argued at trial that Mr. Barton intentionally inflicted the fatal injury and was guilty of first-degree murder.

Alternatively, the Crown counsel argued that Ms. Gladue did not consent to the conduct that caused the injury and Mr. Barton was guilty of manslaughter because he caused death in the course of a sexual assault.

A jury acquitted Mr. Barton. The Court of Appeal granted an appeal, set aside the acquittal and ordered a new trial.