This release was issued under a previous government.

“It is clear our justice system failed this Albertan. She was a young woman and the victim of a horrific crime. The way she was treated in the system is absolutely unacceptable.

“When I was made aware of this situation, I was shocked, angry and heartbroken. It is obvious we failed her at every level and her story is a crucial reminder that we must do better. In my opinion, there were obvious mistakes and poor decisions made in this case.

“I have had a chance to sit down with the victim’s mother and apologize for the way her daughter was treated. I felt this apology was absolutely necessary. A representative from Victim Services will be working to ensure appropriate resources are available to the victim’s family.

“I strongly believe that victims of sexual assault, or any crime, should be treated with dignity, compassion and respect, no matter their circumstances. That is what Albertans expect, and that is what all Albertans deserve.

“I have hired Roberta Campbell, a long-time criminal lawyer and outgoing president of the Law Society of Manitoba, to conduct an independent investigation into this incident. This investigation will look into what other steps government might need to take.

“I have also tasked a special committee to review this case to specifically recommend policies to ensure no one is ever treated like this again.

“The committee is made up of representatives from law enforcement, the Alberta Crown Prosecution Service, the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, Resolution and Court Administrative Services and Victim Services.

“I have also asked two leading experts to join this committee:

  • Deb Tomlinson, CEO, Association of Alberta Sexual Assault Services
  • Grace Auger, a lawyer and former vice president of the Indigenous Bar Association

“While we are working on developing thorough policies, any Crown prosecutor who chooses to utilize section 545 (1) of the Criminal Code must have the decision approved by the Chief Crown. No exceptions will be made.

“I will be sharing more information with Albertans once the reviews into this incident conclude.”

Quick facts:

  • Section 545 (1) of the Criminal Code of Canada:

Procedure where Witness Refuses to Testify
Marginal note: Witness refusing to be examined

545 (1) Where a person, being present at a preliminary inquiry and being required by the justice to give evidence,

  • (a) refuses to be sworn,
  • (b) having been sworn, refuses to answer the questions that are put to him,
  • (c) fails to produce any writings that he is required to produce, or
  • (d) refuses to sign his deposition,

without offering a reasonable excuse for his failure or refusal, the justice may adjourn the inquiry and may, by warrant in Form 20, commit the person to prison for a period not exceeding eight clear days or for the period during which the inquiry is adjourned, whichever is the lesser period.

  • “Angela Cardinal” is the pseudonym CBC has used to identify the victim, as her name is protected by a publication ban.

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