Front Burner

What the Cindy Gladue case exposes about the justice system

The Supreme Court of Canada has ordered a new trial for a man accused of killing Cindy Gladue. CBC’s Kathleen Harris explains why the first trial raised so many questions about how Indigenous women are treated by the Canadian justice system.
A woman protests outside the Supreme Court of Canada, where justices were hearing arguments in the case of Bradley Barton, who was acquitted of killing Indigenous woman Cindy Gladue. He faces a new trial next year. (Christina Romualdo/CBC)
Listen to the full episode19:22

The Supreme Court of Canada has ordered a new trial for a man accused of killing Cindy Gladue. Gladue was killed in 2011 and an Ontario truck driver named Bradley Barton was charged with first-degree murder and manslaughter. He was acquitted on both counts in 2015. The Supreme Court ruled last week that the original trial had major issues, including the decision to allow details of Gladue's sexual past as evidence, and repeated references to her as a sex worker.

Justice Michael Moldaver wrote, "Her life mattered. She was valued. She was important. She was loved. Her status as an Indigenous woman who performed sex work did not change any of that in the slightest." Barton will be tried for manslaughter again next year. CBC reporter Kathleen Harris explains why this case has raised so many questions about how Indigenous women are treated by the justice system in Canada.

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