WARNING: This story contains graphic details and disturbing content.
A judge has dismissed an Ontario truck driver’s application for a mistrial after he was found guilty of killing a woman in his Edmonton hotel room.
A sentencing hearing was to be held this week for Bradley Barton. But it was postponed after his lawyer brought forward an anonymous letter that was sent to his office in early March, 12 days after a jury convicted Barton of manslaughter in the death of Cindy Gladue.
The 36-year-old Métis and Cree woman was found dead in a bathtub at the Yellowhead Inn in 2011.
Defence lawyer Dino Bottos had told court the anonymous letter was a cause for concern and is believed to have been sent by one of the jurors.
Although the content of the letter is under a publication ban, Justice Stephen Hillier said it made it appear that “Mr. Barton was not given the same respect as the victim.”
But he said he “lacked jurisdiction to create a record for appeal in these circumstances.”
“I am unpersuaded to exercise any residual discretion that I might have to inquire further,” the judge said Friday in rejecting Barton’s bid for a mistrial.
He said the case will be back in court Tuesday when lawyers will decide on a new date for a sentencing hearing where victim impact statements are to be read by Gladue’s family and friends.
It was the second trial for Barton. A jury in 2015 found him not guilty of first-degree murder in Gladue’s death.
The acquittal sparked rallies and calls for justice for Indigenous women across the country. Both the Alberta Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada ordered a new trial.
Barton, 52, of Mississauga, Ont., testified that he paid Gladue for sex. But court heard she had four times the legal limit of alcohol in her system and she bled to death from a severe wound in her vagina.
Two jurors were excused from the second trial. Hillier was notified one jury member had expressed that working in the sex trade was “bad” and that Gladue would have lived had she not exchanged sex for money with Barton.
Another juror was excused, the trial heard because he was trying to sway the opinion of other jurors.
Bottos had argued a mistrial was necessary because the dismissed juror was trying to lobby the others.
“We’re suggesting that… there’s evidence of misconduct or potential misconduct,” Bottos said.
However, Hillier said he agreed with the Crown’s argument. Prosecutor Julie Snowdon said the jurors had told the trial that they were not swayed.
“My friend suggests that after this much time has passed, all 13 jurors should be brought in and asked questions about whether juror number nine exerted influence on them,” Snowdon told court.
“This is despite the fact that before they were sequestered, they were already asked if they had been influenced, they already said no, and there is no reason to disbelieve them.
“Too much time has passed for the court to get a reliable enough account,” she added.