Pickton court appearance sparks outrage among family members

Suzanne Fournier
The Province

Friday, May 24, 2002

The sight of accused serial murderer Robert Pickton making a rare appearance in Port Coquitlam court yesterday touched off a wave of rage and horror among family members of some of Vancouver's missing women.

Pickton, 50, who stared at the family members of his alleged victims and the judge as a seventh first-degree murder charge was read out against him, was appearing in person for only the second time since his arrest Feb. 22.

Robert Pickton

He has appeared all other times in court by video monitor and will do so again at the next scheduled appearance June 11.

Ada Wilson, the sister of Mona Wilson who the Crown alleges was murdered by Pickton between Dec. 1, 2001, and Feb. 5, 2002, ar-rived late in the courtroom but stood briefly, staring with open hatred and anger at Pickton, who stared back calmly from the prisoner's dock.

Pickton appeared uncowed by the media and family members of his alleged victims, even smirking and rolling his eyes slightly as the new charge of first-degree murder of Brenda Ann Wolfe, between March 5, 1999, and Feb. 5, 2002, was read out in court.

"You son of a bitch," Ada Wilson said under her breath. Outside the courtroom, Wilson said she wanted to shout at Pickton.

"He's as cold as can be . . . I was so angry I felt like an outburst . . . but I didn't want to disrupt the courtroom."

Outside the court, Donna Joseph, sister of Janet Henry who was last seen in 1997, sobbed as she hugged her daughter Shelley Joseph and her niece Katrina Joseph.

Don MacKinnon, for The Province
Donna Joseph (back to camera), sister of missing woman Janet Henry, hugs Donna's daughter Shelley Joseph and niece Katrina Joseph outside Port Coquitlam court yesterday. Robert Pickton was charged with on more count of first-degree murder bringing total to seven.

"This is my first time in court and to see him [Pickton] is a shock," said Donna Joseph. "It makes it more real that my sister is gone and I can't help grieving that she may have died a horrible death. I feel very, very sick."

Donna Joseph's sister Sandra Gagnon, who has been present at all of Pickton's court appearances, was also angry.

"He made eye contact with us and gave no sign that he felt anything. It was very cold and creepy."

Pickton's lawyer Marilyn Sandford, however, said outside court that despite her client's apparent indifference, Pickton's reaction to the new charge was "complete shock. He's very upset."

In court, Sandford complained about lack of disclosure by the Crown.

"A month has gone by without any new paper coming our way," said Sandford, adding that if it is the case that "every piece of paper from the police has to be vetted by the prosecutor," then more people should be employed to help brief the defence.

Crown counsel Michael Petrie objected strenuously, noting the Crown has provided more than 5,000 pages of evidence and eight police officers working full time to brief the defence have passed on 200 witness statements and detailed forensic information.

Meanwhile, family members will meet with the Missing Women's Joint Task Force at Surrey RCMP headquarters Sunday at 1 p.m. Questions will be raised about controversial fundraising through a Missing Women's Trust Fund that is accepting cheques mailed to the Vancouver police native liaison unit, which is also providing charitable tax receipts.

"Many families find this fund quite unacceptable because there is still a cloud hanging over the Vancouver police and unanswered questions about the role of the police's native liaison unit," said Ernie Crey, whose sister Dawn Crey went missing in late 2000.

 Copyright  2002 The Province

Victims relatives see accused, weep-May 24, 2002

Courtesy of The Province



Missing Women Tip Line: 1-877-687-3377

Updated: August 21, 2016