The fate of a former Ontario truck driver accused of manslaughter in the 2011 death of Cindy Gladue is now in the jury’s hands, after a lengthy delay Thursday afternoon.
Justice Stephen Hillier gave jurors who have been hearing Bradley Barton’s trial for the past six weeks their final instructions, concluding late Thursday evening. The proceedings were delayed for several hours Thursday afternoon for a hearing that resulted in the dismissal of two jurors.
Eleven jurors will make the final decision. They will remain sequestered until they have reached a verdict.
Hillier reminded jurors that they were to focus entirely on the evidence presented during the trial. He said Barton is presumed innocent and it is the Crown prosecutors’ job to prove otherwise.
“We are collectively the judges in the case,” Hillier said to the jury during his instructions. “My function is to advise you as to the law. You are the sole judges of the facts. It is your function and your function alone to decide what facts have been proven in this case from the evidence, which you have heard and to decide what inferences are to be drawn from the facts.”
Barton is accused of killing Gladue in a hotel room at the Yellowhead Inn roughly a decade ago.
He was acquitted of first-degree murder and manslaughter in 2015 but the Court of Appeal of Alberta overturned it and ordered a new trial. Barton was originally facing a first-degree murder charge but the Supreme Court ruled that the new trial could only go forward on a charge of manslaughter.
Crown prosecutors allege Barton sexually assaulted Gladue, inflicting an 11-centimetre wound to her vaginal wall with his hand that caused her to bleed to death.
The defence maintains the sexual contact was consensual, and that Gladue’s death was an accident.
Hillier reminded the jury that they cannot find Barton guilty just because they find his actions or character unsavoury.
“You may be concerned that he is not a good person because he lied to a lot of people,” he said. “He searched for and viewed a lot of pornography using vulgar search terms. He cheated on his wife and he exchanged money for sexual services. Remember, Mr. Barton is on trial only for the charge set out in the indictment.”
The jury retired to make its decision just after 8 p.m. Thursday.