As the manslaughter trial of Bradley Barton continues in Edmonton, the family of Cindy Gladue has a lawyer with them in court to make sure there are no further indignities to the victim.
“They refer to Miss Gladue as Miss Gladue. I’m not even hearing ‘the woman’. Everybody seems to be very mindful of that,” said Métis lawyer Lisa Weber of Edmonton.
“I have not heard reference to anything like sex trade or prostitution and we know right out of the gate that’s the type of language the parties used the first time.”
The retrial of Barton for the 2011 crime is at the half-way point, added Weber, who is at Gladue’s mother’s side during the proceedings at no charge.
Barton was acquitted by a jury during his first trial in 2015 following a controversial prosecution that included displaying a model of Gladue’s vagina, and sparked rallies and calls for justice for Indigenous women and led to an appeal before the Supreme Court of Canada.
A new trial was ordered in 2019 for the long-distance furniture mover from Ontario.
He was expected to take the witness stand Monday.
Medical experts have testified that Gladue, 36, suffered from a severe wound to her vagina and bled to death.
Security footage shown during the trial shows the two going to Barton’s hotel room in Edmonton together.
Weber said the model of Gladue’s vagina would not be shown to this jury.
“As soon as they were setting trial dates, we got clarity that cannot be an issue,” she said. “This time around there’s two Crown prosecutors and they said, ‘Absolutely not.'”
Weber noted Gladue’s family is not making any comments to the media at this time.
Weber, who was legal counsel for the Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women (IAAW) during the appeal process, wanted to continue to be there for the family of the Metis and Cree mother.
In a criminal trial proceeding, there is no formal role for victims to have a lawyer and to actively participate. But Weber said she is a shoulder to lean on and a knowledgeable resource for the family.
“I’m there with (Gladue’s mom) to support her, as well as to explain what’s going on procedurally if she has any questions,” Weber said.
A gynecologist and a medical examiner previously told the jury that Gladue suffered an 11-centimetre tear to her vaginal wall, and it was like nothing they had seen before in their years of works.
Dr. Erin Bader, who works at Edmonton’s Royal Alexandra Hospital, testified that the wound was due to excessive force.
On Thursday, Crown prosecutor Lawrence Van Dyke read evidence from a forensic computer analyst who reviewed the search history on Barton’s laptop up to nine days before Gladue was found dead.
There were 191 entries, Van Dyke said, and they included searches and links to videos of vaginas being torn or ripped by large objects.
There were also searches about how long a woman’s vagina stays stretched after childbirth and videos showing up a woman’s skirt.
Justice Stephen Hillier warned the jury they should not make their final decisions based on character, even if Barton’s search history gives them a poor impression.
With files from The Canadian Press