Pickton hearing could be delayed months

Andy Ivens
The Province

Sunday, November 03, 2002

Robert "Willy" Pickton is expected to tell a judge tomorrow he doesn't have enough money for a lawyer to defend him on 15 counts of first-degree murder.

Robert Pickton is charged with 15 counts of first-degree murder in connection with Vancouver's missing women case. (BCTV News on Global)

If the man accused of killing 15 missing women from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside makes the expected request, the preliminary hearing in the matter will likely be delayed for months.

And if, as expected, Provincial Court Judge David Stone orders a hearing on the matter -- called a Rowbotham application -- tomorrow afternoon's proceedings in B.C. Supreme Court will be occupied by the continued wrangling between the B.C. government and defence lawyer Peter Ritchie over funding for Pickton's defence.

Part of that hearing will be held in private between the judge and the lawyers.

Many relatives and friends of the alleged victims had hoped tomorrow would see the preliminary hearing, expected to take four months, begin.

That may still happen, Ritchie hinted.

Ritchie, who withdrew from the case but appears in court as a "friend of the court" in the funding battle, said Pickton has a stubborn streak and is growing weary of languishing in jail waiting for his trial to begin.

The 53-year-old farmer, whom Ritchie has described as "unsophisticated," may decide to defend himself.

Ritchie said outside court he is not impressed with the government's "parsimonious, bean-counting approach."

In court, Ritchie told the associate chief justice he and co-counsel Marilyn Sandford have put 700 hours of work into Pickton's defence and have only been paid for 90.

The government and Ritchie haven't even reached agreement on how to fund his application for funding.

"They obviously have put in millions and millions of dollars for the prosecution and they're putting a pittance in [to the defence] so that this can be a fair trial," scoffed Ritchie.

"We should have had a team of lawyers months ago."

Ritchie said on Thursday a team of six lawyers is needed to handle the mountains of evidence coming in.

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 Copyright 2002 The Province



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Updated: August 21, 2016