March 8, 2016, Edmonton – On March 8, 2016, Alberta Court of Appeal Justice Berger granted the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF) and the Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women (IAAW) leave to intervene in R. v. Barton at the Alberta Court of Appeal.
LEAF and IAAW are pleased that the Court of Appeal has agreed to hear our arguments in this appeal of the verdict in the Cindy Gladue case. At the trial, the jury accepted the defence argument that Ms. Gladue, an Indigenous woman, had consented to “rough sex” and acquitted the man accused of her murder, Bradley Barton.
As stated in the LEAF/IAAW leave motion, this appeal raises legal issues regarding sexual assault that transcend the particulars of this case; the Court’s decision on those issues will significantly affect the law regarding sexual assault. LEAF/IAAW counsel Ritu Khullar, Q.C., notes that LEAF/IAAW have “significant concerns with respect to the trial judge’s instructions to the jury on the matter of consent.”
LEAF and IAAW intend to address the following issues before the Court of Appeal:
- whether, if a woman consents to a specific sexual activity, she is also consenting, in law, to any degree of force her sex partner chooses to use while performing that activity; and
- whether it is always incumbent on a trial judge to require an application to be made under s. 276 of the Criminal Code before allowing introduction into evidence of a sexual assault complainant’s sexual history.
“We are pleased to have the opportunity to present the Court of Appeal with our insights and knowledge. With our combined half century of experience in advocating for women’s equality, LEAF and IAAW are committed to promoting the rights of Indigenous women to be free from violence and discrimination based on race, class, and gender. We want to ensure that the criminal justice system does not perpetuate violence against Indigenous women”, states IAAW President Muriel Stanley Venne.
LEAF and IAAW are proud to be represented by Ritu Khullar, Kristan McLeod and Vanessa Cosco of Chivers Carpenter, and Lisa Weber of Weber Law Group. For more information about our intervention in this case, please see our leave application here.
About Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF)
Since April 17, 1985, when equality rights were enshrined in sections 15 and 28 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, LEAF has worked toward equality for women and girls. LEAF intervenes in key cases to ensure that when courts interpret equality rights, there will be a systemic improvement in women’s lives. For more information about LEAF, visit www.leaf.ca
About the Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Woman (IAAW)
For the past 20 years, IAAW has advanced the rights of Aboriginal women through advocacy, education, research and program development. IAAW is composed of First Nation and Metis Women dedicated to supporting other women in their journey to build individual and family capacity while supporting the development of healthy, safe and caring communities. For more information about IAAW, visit www.iaaw.ca
For media inquiries:
Kim Stanton, LEAF Legal Director
416.595.7170 x.223, [email protected]