RCMP won't charge Fox News for 'false' Pickton story

Terri Theodore
Canadian Press

Friday, May 28, 2004

VANCOUVER - The RCMP has decided against laying a charge against the U.S.-based Fox network for a report it carried earlier this year on former pig farmer Robert Pickton, who faces 15 counts of first-degree murder.

Fox News ran a story in February that prompted authorities to investigate whether it was in breach of a publication ban imposed by the provincial court judge who presided over Pickton's preliminary hearing last year.

RCMP spokeswoman Cpl. Catherine Galliford said the Fox report was investigated by the Mounties and discussed with Crown counsel, which makes the decision whether to lay charges.

"Any information that came directly from the preliminary hearing that would be aired or published would be a breach of the publication ban," said Galliford. "The information that was contained in the Fox news story was mostly false information or untruths.

"So there wasn't actually a breach of the publication ban."

The report that police concluded was incorrect said, among other things, that human remains were discovered in a wood chipper that turned bodies into pigfeed.

Robert Zimmerman, Fox's vice-president of media relations, said he would have to investigate the story further.

"I'd have to see what's fictional about the situation," he said. "I would have to check with ... (the reporter), you know etc., etc."

The Fox story came to authorities' attention when it was spotted on the University of British Columbia website. It was quickly removed, but police said they would investigate.

Pickton has been in custody since his arrest in February 2002 and now faces 15 charges of first-degree murder.

Prosecutors have previously indicated they intend to lay at least seven more charges.

His trial is not expected to begin until sometime in 2005.

The Pickton investigation is part of a wider investigation involving more than 60 women who vanished from Vancouver's seedy and drug-infested downtown eastside in the past 20 years.

 The Canadian Press 2004

Pickton ban broken, U.S. network claims-Feb 6, 2004



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