The Edmonton Remand Centre in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Photo: Alberta Justice and Solicitor General
Canada | Law

Native woman was jailed and forced to ride with assailant during trial

Authorities in Alberta, Canada, are investigating the treatment of a Native woman who was incarcerated and kept in shackles even though she was the victim of a sexual assault.

The woman, who has since passed on, was kept in a cell next to her assailant and was even forced to ride in the same van to and from the courthouse during proceedings in June 2015, according to news reports. Her family has received an apology from Alberta Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley, who has ordered investigations into the case.

“They would never do that to a white person. I don’t even think they would do it to a black person,” Native elder Rick Lightning told the Associated Press. “Then why is it OK to do it to an Indian?”

Lance Blanchard, 59, a sex offender, was found guilty for assaulting the woman, whose name can't be disclosed due to a publication ban in Canada. He's seeking a mistrial and is claiming the victim can't be trusted because of her way of life, according to news reports.

The attack in question occurred in Edmonton in June 2014. The victim managed to call 911 despite being brutally assault and stabbed in Blanchard's apartment, where he was arrested.

The preliminary hearing took place in June 2015. Based on information reviewed by CBC News, which first reported on the case, the judge believed the woman was a flight risk and he ordered her to be jailed and placed in shackles even though she had never missed a court date.

The woman spent a total of five nights in the Edmonton Remand Centre, CBC reported. She protested her treatment during the hearing.

"I'm the victim and look at me, I'm in shackles," the woman told Judge Raymond Bodnarek, CBC reported.

According to the AP, Judge Raymond Bodnarek mistakenly referred to the woman as “Ms. Blanchard.” The chief judge of the Provincial Court of Alberta is reviewing his decision to detain the victim during the proceeding.

The woman was killed in December 2015 in an unrelated shooting, the AP said.

Read More on the Story:
Jailing of indigenous assault victim sparks debate in Canada (AP 6/21)
'Incredibly damning allegation': Angela Cardinal case ignites feud between prosecutors, justice minister (CBC 6/21)
Doubts about sex assault victim Angela Cardinal raised in sworn affidavit (CBC 6/19)
Violent sexual offender seeks records of victim in effort to argue for a mistrial (The Edmonton Journal 6/19)
New development in Edmonton sex assault case in which victim was jailed (CP 6/19)