Emma Cunliffe (UBC Law) at the IFLS January 8 2016, 1230-2
RSVP at bit.ly/osresearch, use event code Emma (or click through the image below and use event code Emma)
R. v Barton & the Death of Cindy Gladue
In March 2015, Bradley Barton was acquitted of murder in relation to the death of Cindy Gladue. Gladue was a Métis mother who bled to death in the bathroom of an Edmonton hotel, allegedly while Barton slept. Barton testified that her wounds had been caused by consensual ‘rough sex’. The forensic pathologist called by the Crown at Barton’s murder trial invited the jury to inspect Gladue’s preserved body tissue in order to reach their own conclusions about how her injuries were caused. (R v Barton, 2015 ABQB 159.) When the acquittal was reported, Indigenous communities, women’s advocates and others responded with anger and dismay. The trial judge’s decision to allow the pathologist to introduce Gladue’s body tissue became a particular focus of disapprobation (eg Sampert, 2015; Cormier, 2015).
This talk will investigate whether expert evidence and legal conceptions of expertise function as Trojan Horses by which discriminatory stereotypes and implicit bias find purchase within Canadian legal processes regarding gendered violence. In particular, Dr. Cunliffe will consider whether the failure of legal processes to respond adequately to gendered violence is partly produced by legal conventions and expert opinions that undermine Charter commitments to fair and egalitarian fact determination.
Emma Cunliffe is an associate professor at UBC’s Allard School of Law. Her research analyses the fact determination functions of courts, and particularly addresses expert scientific and medical evidence, the role of implicit stereotypes and bias in the criminal justice system, and the principles of open justice. Emma has received the Killam Prize for Teaching Excellence and the George Curtis Memorial Award for Teaching. At UBC, she teaches evidence, criminal law, jurisprudence and interdisciplinary research methodologies. Emma’s last visit to York was for the SLST series in 2014, when she talked Women and Wrongful Convictions.