A jury was sequestered Thursday night and will soon begin deliberations in the manslaughter trial of Bradley Barton, the man accused of killing Cindy Gladue.
Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Stephen Hillier sequestered the jury around 8:30 p.m but told the jurors not to begin deliberations until Friday morning, citing the fact it had been a long day.
Hillier spent Thursday giving final instructions to the jury, outlining areas of law related to the case, and laying out questions jurors need to answer as they deliberate whether or not to find Barton guilty.
Hillier’s instructions carried on into Thursday evening after a delay. Following a voir dire, or a trial within a trial, two of the jurors were removed. The remaining jurors are now sequestered and will begin deliberations Friday.
The 52-year-old Barton, a former long-distance truck driver from Ontario, is accused of causing a fatal injury to Gladue while they were having sex in June 2011 in a suite at the Yellowhead Inn in west Edmonton. Barton admitted he caused the injury, but said he had no idea at the time that Gladue was hurt.
Hillier told jurors they must determine if Crown prosecutors proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Barton sexually assaulted Gladue, that a reasonable person in the same circumstances would see that the sexual activity in question exposed Gladue to bodily harm, and that the act caused her death.
Barton insisted the sex was consensual and that she enjoyed it at the time. He has admitted he had sex with Cindy Gladue on two nights. Both nights he inserted his fist into her vagina.
During the trial, the court heard the cause of death was blunt-force trauma, and that Gladue bled to death due to an 11-centimetre tear to her vaginal wall. During cross-examination, Crown prosecutors alleged that after injuring Gladue, Barton moved her from the bed to the bathtub and left her there to bleed to death.
While testifying, Barton denied the Crown’s theory about what happened. He testified that he was shocked when he found her naked body in a bloody bathtub the next morning.
Hillier told the jury that Barton’s position during the trial was that he believed Gladue was consenting to the sexual activity. He told jurors they must determine whether or not Gladue consented — or if she even had the capacity to consent because of evidence that she was intoxicated — and that they must also determine if Barton honestly believed he had her consent.
The jury has been told Gladue’s blood-alcohol content was four times the legal limit at the time of her death.
“There’s no consent unless Ms. Gladue agreed and continued to agree in her mind,” the judge said, as he spoke at length about the definition of consent under the law.
Hillier also cautioned the jury against relying on myths or stereotypes about Indigenous people, particularly women and girls who have been subjected to colonialism and violence for many years. He also told them they must avoid relying on prejudices about people who have done sex work.
“These persons deserve respect for their humanity and dignity. They are not sexual objects for male gratification,” the judge said.
This is the second time Barton has been on trial for Gladue’s death. In 2015, a jury acquitted Barton of both first-degree murder and manslaughter charges triggering nationwide protests and calls for change in the justice system.
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