Breaking: Supreme Court refuses to grant Robert Pickton new trial

UPDATE, 9:50 A.M. ET: Canada’s top court has refused a retrial for B.C. pig farmer Robert Pickton, the man convicted in one of the country’s most notorious and gruesome serial-killing cases.

The full story on the Supreme Court’s decision is here.

At 9:30 a.m. ET on Friday, the Supreme Court of Canada will declare whether Robert Pickton, who was convicted in 2007 of killing six women from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, will face a new trial.

Pickton has asked the Supreme Court of Canada to reverse the convictions because, he claims, the judge gave improper instructions to the jury.

The pig farmer from Port Coquitlam, B.C. stands charged for the murders of 20 other women.

According to the Crown, if the Supreme Court orders a new trial, Pickton could be tried on all 26 charges.

At the end of his 11-month trial, Pickton was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years for six count of second-degree murder.

The Crown has said Pickton will not face a new trial if the high court turns down his appeal.

with files from Postmedia News

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Supreme Court rejects Pickton bid for new trial
Norma Greenaway, Postmedia News · Friday, Jul. 30, 2010

OTTAWA — The Supreme Court of Canada has rejected serial killer Robert Pickton’s quest for a new trial in a unanimous ruling Friday that upheld the pig farmer’s convictions for murdering six missing Vancouver women.

The nine justices said that despite flaws in the trial judge’s instructions to the jury, there was no miscarriage of justice that would warrant retrying the 60-year-old Pickton, who is serving a life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years.

“Certainly, this was a long and difficult trial — but it was also a fair one,” wrote Justice Louis LeBel.

“Despite the errors set out above, there was no miscarriage of justice occasioned by the trial proceedings. Mr. Pickton was entitled to the same measure of justice as any other person in this country. He received it. He is not entitled to more.”

The ruling is the latest development in a grisly saga that began when Pickton was arrested in 2002 and charged with murder after authorities began uncovering butchered and dismembered body parts on his farm in Port Coquitlam B.C.

Although PIckton faces an additional 20 murder charges, prosecutors had said they would not pursue those charges unless the Supreme Court ordered a new trial.

Although the justices differed in their reasons for throwing out Pickton’s appeal, they agreed the trial judge’s instructions to the jury were adequate.

There was no injustice, they said, and the evidence against Pickton was so overwhelming that he would have been convicted in any case.

The appeal had centred on Pickton’s argument there had been a miscarriage of justice when the trial judge, in response to a question from the jury six days into their deliberations, broadened his instructions.

At the time, Justice James Williams said they could convict Pickton if they found he was an “active participant” in the murders and not just the sole perpetrator of the crimes, as he had suggested in his original instructions.

The defence said the shift changed the “goal posts” to the detriment of Pickton.

The Supreme Court disagreed, saying the defence itself had widened the goal posts by arguing throughout the trial that others, not Pickton, had committed the crimes.

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Updated: August 21, 2016