Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Alberta Justice Minister 'Shocked, Angry' with Treatment of Sex Assault Victim

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Alberta Justice Minister 'Shocked, Angry' with Treatment of Sex Assault Victim

Article excerpt

Jailing of sex assault victim to be investigated

--

EDMONTON - Alberta Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley is demanding answers after it was revealed a sex assault victim was shackled and jailed during her case and was even forced to ride in a prison van with her attacker.

Ganley announced Monday she has launched two investigations into the case.

"The facts of this case are disturbing and tragic, and when you add in the treatment of the victim in the system, they are almost incomprehensible," said Ganley. "What is clear is that both policies and people failed in this case."

Ganley said she wants to know if the fact that the woman was indigenous and living on the street played a role in how she was treated by the justice system.

"One of the questions that keeps me up at night is whether it would have been the case that if this woman was Caucasian and housed and not addicted, whether this would have happened to her," Ganley told a legislature news conference.

The 28-year-old woman, who was from central Alberta, was forced to spend five nights in the Edmonton Remand Centre during her testimony at a 2015 preliminary hearing for Lance Blanchard, the man who attacked her.

Court heard the woman was homeless and sleeping in an apartment stairwell when she was attacked and dragged into Blanchard's apartment. She suffered stab wounds to her temple and hand as she attempted to fight off the sexual assault.

Court documents indicate the woman had trouble focusing and answering questions, so the hearing judge agreed with a Crown prosecutor's request to have her spend the weekend in custody.

The complainant was forced to testify about her June 2014 assault in Edmonton while she was shackled and handcuffed and, on at least two occasions, she had to travel in the same prisoner van as her attacker.

A different judge -- who found Blanchard guilty of aggravated assault, kidnapping, unlawful confinement and aggravated sexual assault -- noted the woman's treatment in his decision last December.

"She was clearly distraught and, using her word, 'panicking.' She was somewhat belligerent," Justice Eric Macklin wrote. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.