Pickton unlikely to face trial in 20 more cases

B.C. attorney general says there would be no purpose to another lengthy proceeding

Feb 27, 2008 04:30 AM

Petti Fong
Western Canada Bureau Chief
Toronto Star

Vancouver–Families of some of serial killer Robert Pickton's alleged victims learned yesterday that the Crown is not going to proceed with a trial on the other 20 counts of first-degree murder.

"I had a feeling that this was going to happen," said Marilyn Kraft, stepmother of Cindy Feliks, one of the 20 victims whose cases have not been heard. "My feeling was that the government was going to say there was no need for a second trial and that's the excuse they will use."

B.C.'s Attorney General Wally Oppal said yesterday if the appeals fail and Pickton's conviction on six counts of second-degree murder is allowed to stand, it would serve no purpose in holding another lengthy criminal trial "given the fact that no further punishment, no further sentence can be achieved by virtue of further convictions. He is now receiving the maximum."

The pig farmer from Port Coquitlam, B.C., was initially charged with 26 counts of first-degree murder after police arrested him in 2002. For years, women who lived and worked in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside went missing and the remains of some of those women have been found on a pig farm where Pickton lived and worked.

During Pickton's preliminary hearing, a judge divided the charges and proceeded with six of the counts, with the 20 other charges to be heard at a later date.

Pickton, 58, was convicted in December on six counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of Sereena Abotsway, Andrea Joesbury, Marnie Frey, Georgina Papin, Mona Wilson and Brenda Wolfe.

He was sentenced to serve a minimum of 25 years in jail before being eligible for parole.

A month later, the Crown filed an appeal on the basis that Pickton should have been convicted for first-degree murder and because prosecutors want all 26 charges to be heard at the same time.

Pickton's defence team has also filed an appeal arguing the judge made numerous errors, including in his instructions to the jury.

"This has been going on for years and years," said Kraft. "But no matter how you think of it, my daughter still hasn't had justice and never will."

In Guelph, Jean Little, aunt of Sarah De Vries, another of Pickton's alleged victims, said she believes the decision not to proceed was the right one.

"He's off the street. He can't hurt anyone else," said Little in a telephone interview. "They could spend more money, but that money could be spent elsewhere."

Lilliane Beaudoin, sister of Dianne Rock, one of the 20 victims in question, found it heartbreaking that the trial would likely not proceed.

The criminal trial and the investigation before the charges were some of the lengthiest in Canadian history with costs estimated at more than $70 million.

"Injustice has been done against my family and the family of the other women," Beaudoin said by telephone from Welland, Ont.

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