Take it from a human rights lawyer: the system screwed up in seeking justice for ‘Angela Cardinal’

Take it from a human rights lawyer: the system screwed up in seeking justice for 'Angela Cardinal'

Few issues must rattle a attorney. Work on this trade long enough, and you’ll assume you could have seen the whole thing. But I Used To Be legitimately horrified reading in regards to the callous forget for ’s fundamental human rights whilst she used to be shackled, jailed and made to testify against the person who brutally attacked her.

The case dates again to June 2014, when consistent with CBC’s report, Cardinal (that’s a pseudonym — her title is safe by means of a publication ban) was once homeless and sought refuge inside of an condominium building. That Is the place the 28-12 months-antique Cree girl was once attacked and assaulted via convicted sexual predator Lance Blanchard, who had tied her up and stabbed her again and again by means of the time police arrived.

Lance Blanchard

Convicted sexual predator Lance Blanchard hours after he attacked Angela Cardinal in June, 2014. (Edmonton Police Provider)

When Cardinal confronted Blanchard at a preliminary listening to a year later, she used to be still living at the streets. She was once upset and panicked in her testimony, and the public later realized that her anxiousness was exacerbated through the pass judgement on mistakenly regarding her the use of the name of her assailant. So Cardinal — the victim, take into account that — used to be detained under phase 545(1)(b), which permits a judge to detain a witness for up to eight days for “refusing to reply to the questions which are put to him.”

Cardinal had to begin with attended that initial listening to without the power of subpoena, and there have been no issues round her failure to attend court while she was required to do so within the earlier. briefly, she understood both the importance of her testimony and her obligation to attend court. Her handiest indiscretion, then, was once her failure to testify successfully on her first day in court docket.

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For that, Cardinal was remanded and compelled into court docket in shackles. She was made to experience to court docket with the very man who terrorized her, forced to stick in a mobile phone on the subject of his all the way through court adjournments and maybe most disturbingly, unnoticed whilst she begged to stay together with her mom for the period of the hearing.

The court refused to entertain her pleas, and in its deplorable prison-like remedy of her in open court docket, she was once victimized a second time. Then, seven months after the initial hearing, Cardinal was once killed in an unrelated shooting — capping off her saga in the so much tragic approach.

Remedy of Indigenous sufferers

Whilst the public often hears about the overrepresentation of Indigenous folks knotted up in Canada’s felony justice gadget, we do not pay attention enough about the remedy of Indigenous sufferers of crime inside the justice gadget, specifically when the ones victims are girls and the crimes are sexual and violent in nature.

In my view, the judge’s use of infrequently invoked segment 545(1)(b) of the Criminal Code, allowing the arbitrary detention of a person, was once an infringement at the witness’s person rights to liberty.

Arguably, the segment itself is overly wide — there is no longer much legal narrative on how and when it could actually be correctly used — and in Cardinal’s case, it appears it was no longer used correctly through the court docket. The segment (as some distance because it will have carried out to Cardinal) might have allowed detention where the witness was refusing to respond to questions after being sworn. But Cardinal used to be no longer refusing to respond to questions: she was having problem testifying.

Edmonton girl shackled and jailed at the same time as testifying against her attacker1:25

Cardinal, sadly, did not are living long sufficient to problem the justice machine over the way she used to be treated. If she did, she may’ve explored the chance of filing a human rights grievance towards the police and/or court docket staff.

Submitting a human rights criticism (under the enumerated grounds of race and sex), may have forced a probe of how the courtroom machine works with , probably dropping light at the lack of cultural training amongst non-Indigenous courtroom and police group of workers. There could have additionally been the option to sue the police in the civil courts for the negligent infliction of psychological struggling, arguing they breached their duty of care to Cardinal via failing to protect her from persevered publicity to her attacker (remand order or not).

Getting some answers

There are not any real treatments in opposition to the individual judge or the court docket now, as each are safe through “judicial immunity.” Nothing stops the felony group, alternatively, from submitting a criticism towards the pass judgement on, which could lead to later self-discipline. Cardinal’s circle of relatives can undoubtedly demand a few solutions, too.

and so they have each and every explanation why to: the gadget screwed up in in search of justice for Cardinal. It egregiously undermined both her integrity and her credibility. Anyone sitting in the courtroom looking at Cardinal testify must have observed her listening to for what it was once: an absurd and vicious farce.

This column is a component of CBC’s Opinion section. For additional information approximately this section, please read this editor’s weblog and our FAQ.

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