Complaint filed against Alberta justice minister for comments on jailed sex assault victim
Complaints state Kathleen Ganley breached Law Society of Alberta code of conduct in commenting on case
An Edmonton lawyer has filed a complaint against Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley, saying she made "inappropriate" comments last summer about a case in which a sexual assault victim was jailed.
Scott Horne submitted the complaint to the Law Society of Alberta on March 15. It states that Ganley breached the society's code of conduct when she commented last June on the case of Angela Cardinal. The Indigenous woman was jailed in 2015 while being called to testify against Lance Blanchard, a notorious sexual predator who attacked and sexually assaulted her.
Cardinal was ordered to spend five nights in the Edmonton Remand Centre while she testified due to concerns about her physical and mental state. She shared a van with Blanchard on the way to the courthouse on at least two occasions and was forced to testify in shackles.
On Friday, Blanchard was declared a dangerous offender, which means he could spend the rest of his life in prison.
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Ganley said Cardinal's treatment was unacceptable, and questioned whether she would have received the same treatment had she been Caucasian, housed and sober. She ordered an independent investigation into Cardinal's treatment.
Horne said Ganley's comments on the case that was still before the courts tarnished the reputation of the legal professionals involved.
"These lawyers and judges have not had the opportunity to defend themselves," Horne said.
"They're not allowed to do so. The comments that she made were inappropriate in my view, and also displayed a lack of investigation. I believe that the law society should look into the matter."
Horne said he had written a letter to Ganley, and so did the Alberta Crown Attorneys Association asking her to cease commenting on the case and apologize for the comments she had made.
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"She has not done so. She has only continued to make comments, most recently just a couple of weeks ago on the matter," Horne said.
He said the minister of justice should be held to a "very high standard of behaviour" and he wants the law society to denounce Ganley's actions.
The minister's office declined comment.