Edmonton woman jailed while testifying against her attacker

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epaulo13 epaulo13's picture
Edmonton woman jailed while testifying against her attacker

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'I'm the victim and I'm in shackles': Edmonton woman jailed while testifying against her attacker

On a Monday afternoon in June 2015, Angela Cardinal was led into an Edmonton courtroom handcuffed and in leg shackles. Metallic rattling echoed as a sheriff escorted the 28-year-old to the witness stand.

She was not the accused, but rather a victim — called to testify at a preliminary hearing after she was savagely attacked and sexually assaulted by a notorious sexual predator.

Cardinal was angry about being locked up.

"I'm the victim and look at me, I'm in shackles," she told provincial court Judge Raymond Bodnarek.

"You're going to go back to remand tonight," he replied, "so that we can get you back here tomorrow."

Cardinal's fury increased.

"Shackles," she spat. "Aren't you supposed to commit a crime to go to jail?"

Cardinal was forced to spend a total of five nights in the Edmonton Remand Centre during her testimony....

 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

quote:

Aggravated sexual assault

Cardinal, a Cree woman from Maskwacis, about 100 kilometres south of Edmonton, moved to the city when she was 14.

On a June afternoon in 2014, she was tired and hungry, with nowhere to call home. She convinced a tenant to let her inside a central Edmonton apartment building. She had no idea that Lance Blanchard, a career criminal, lived on the second floor.

Curled up in the stairwell next to a baseboard heater, Cardinal sang herself to sleep with This Little Light of Mine. But she awoke to a knife at her throat. Holding it was a six-foot-seven-inch, 260-pound convicted sexual predator.

At just over five feet tall, weighing only 109 pounds, Cardinal was at a clear disadvantage.

"Blanchard came out of nowhere, bat out of hell, grabbing me," Cardinal testified.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

quote:

Ordered into custody

One year later, on June 5, 2015, Cardinal had to face her attacker again, at his preliminary hearing.

On the first day she was called to testify, she kept falling asleep. She had trouble focusing and answering questions.

At the request of Crown prosecutor Patricia Innes, Bodnarek ordered that Cardinal spend the weekend at the Edmonton Remand Centre. Both were concerned about her physical and mental state.

Innes suggested Cardinal had "presented in a condition unsuitable for testifying, and we don't know what the reason is."

Bodnarek determined he had authority to detain Cardinal under Section 545(1)(b) of the Criminal Code, which applies to witnesses who refuse to answer questions.

When Cardinal returned to court after a weekend in custody, she pleaded with the judge to be "unremanded."

"It's not a pleasant scene I'm living," she said. "Like, I'm the fricking victim here and I mean, like, come on. You sit in the back of those cells. It feels like an hour went by but really it's only 20 minutes."

Cardinal asked to be released to stay with her mother. She promised she would return to court to continue her testimony.

Bodnarek refused, but told her: "We're going to make sure that all efforts will be made to keep you separate from Mr. Blanchard."

But both Blanchard and Cardinal were detained at the same facility. It was later revealed that at least twice, Cardinal had to travel in the same cramped prisoner transport van as her attacker. The remand centre and Edmonton's courthouse are 15 kilometres apart.

During court breaks, Cardinal was usually placed in a cell close to Blanchard.

Ganley called that yet another failure of the justice system.

"None of us will ever really understand what it was like for her to sit there and stare at the man who did this to her," Ganley said. "While she's trapped, essentially."

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

quote:

Tragedy after preliminary hearing

Seven months after Cardinal testified at the preliminary hearing, she became a victim once again, gunned down in an accidental shooting. The man who shot her pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

While alive, Cardinal never told her mother about the assault or about her experience testifying.

"She didn't say anything to us," Cardinal's mother said tearfully, when CBC News shared the details with her in April. "She said she had to go to court. That's all she told me."

She is outraged by the way her daughter was treated. "It's not right. And after all what he did to her, it's not fair."

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

One-quarter of all female homicide victims in Canada in 2015 were Indigenous

The homicide rate for Indigenous females between 2001 and 2015 was nearly six times higher than that for non-Indigenous females, according to a new study by Statistics Canada.

The difference in rates was most notable in the territories and in Manitoba, Alberta and Saskatchewan, according to the report Women in Canada: Women and the Criminal Justice System, released Tuesday....

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

This is such a horrific story. A true testament of systemic racism. Both the judge and the prosecutor should be fired. And the whole criminal legal system needs an overhaul - more than fig leaf attempts at sensitivity training.

quizzical

epaulo13 wrote:
One-quarter of all female homicide victims in Canada in 2015 were Indigenous

The homicide rate for Indigenous females between 2001 and 2015 was nearly six times higher than that for non-Indigenous females, according to a new study by Statistics Canada.

The difference in rates was most notable in the territories and in Manitoba, Alberta and Saskatchewan, according to the report Women in Canada: Women and the Criminal Justice System, released Tuesday....

i don't understand this comment.

if 1/4 of of female homicides were indigenous. what were the other 3/4's other than non-indigenous

and if it's 1/4 of female homicides how can it be 6 times higher?

6079_Smith_W

Because it is per capita. There aren't as many Indigenous people, so even though it is only one quarter of the total it is a  larger portion of that community.

 

kropotkin1951

Indeed it means that 4% of Canada's population is aboriginal. 25% is about 6 times more than the percentage of the population would indicate as a norm.

quizzical

k ty.

i never thought of per capita