Over one hundred people gathered Thursday morning outside the Provincial Court of BC to demand justice for Cindy Gladue and other missing and murdered Indigenous women. The demonstration was one of 26 held across Canada yesterday to express collective outrage over the acquittal of Bradley Barton, who walked free of both murder and manslaughter convictions on March 18th after being tried by an overwhelmingly white, male jury.
Gladue, a 36-year-old mother of three, was found dead in the bathtub of Barton’s motel room in June of 2011. After a month-long trial, Barton was found not guilty under the pretense that Gladue consented to alleged “rough sex” in a prostitution transaction that caused a fatal internal injury. Her blood alcohol level was four times the legal driving limit and, crown argued, the wound was more consistent with an incision than blunt force trauma. Searches of Barton’s computer, which was seized by the RCMP but not presented in court, revealed that he was a regular consumer of torture pornography. Crown prosecutors filed an appeal late Wednesday afternoon, asserting that Justice Robert Graesser erred in his understanding of motive, manslaughter, admissible evidence, and consent.
“It’s important to remember that this isn’t just a failure of the justice system,” says Cherry Smiley, co-founder of Indigenous Women Against the Sex Industry. “It was a john that killed her. We need to be looking at him. Really, we need to be talking about patriarchy, colonialism, and capitalism and how those three things intersect when Bradley Barton, and men like him, think it’s okay to buy sex.”
“Across Canada, protesters demand justice for Cindy Gladue”