Renovations begin on Pickton courtroom

Kim Bolan
Vancouver Sun

Wednesday, September 18, 2002

Renovations are about to begin at Port Coquitlam's provincial courthouse to make it more secure for November's preliminary hearing of accused serial killer Robert (Willy) Pickton.

Assistant deputy attorney-general Rick McCandless confirmed Tuesday the renovations will be completed by the start of Pickton's hearing on seven murder charges Nov. 4 .

"We are focusing on external security and crowd control," McCandless said. "We are . . . planning to install a few extra cameras and a security gate."

So many people are expected to attend the high-profile trial that provisions are being made to deal with the crowds of media and the public, McCandless said.

"Spectators will be searched," he said. "We are looking at putting up a couple of doors to deflect the flow of people."

At an estimated $50,000, the renovations are modest compared with the work at Vancouver Supreme Court to build a $7.2-million high-security courtroom for the Air India bombing trial due to begin next spring, McCandless said.

"Port Coquitlam wasn't designed for high-security. It is certainly not anything like an Air India," he said. "It is just managing a lot of people."

Additional sheriffs and police will also be called in, McCandless said.

"We will have extra sheriffs within the courtroom and outside the courtroom."

Pickton is charged with the first degree murder of seven women went missing from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside between 1997 and last year.

His alleged victims are Mona Wilson, who vanished in November of 2001; Diane Rock, who went missing in October 2001; Sereena Abotsway, who disappeared in August 2001; Andrea Joesbury, who was reported missing in June 2001; Heather Bottomley, who was last seen in April 2001; Brenda Wolfe, who went missing in February 1999, and Jacquilene McDonell, who disappeared in January 1999.

The families of several other missing women have been notified by police that DNA from their loved ones has been found at Pickton's pig farm, though no criminal charges have been laid.

The massive police search continues at two Port Coquitlam sites owned by Pickton and his two siblings. The joint RCMP-Vancouver police missing women's task force has called it the largest crime-scene investigation in Canadian history.

The cost of the police investigation into Vancouver's missing women is budgeted at $20 million this year, according to ministry of finance records released last week.

 Copyright  2002 Vancouver Sun

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

Updated: August 21, 2016