Defence opposes Pickton 'confession' video at appeal

By Keith Fraser, Vancouver Province

March 16, 2009

Vancouver Prosecutors want to show the B.C. Court of Appeal a 35-minute video of Robert Pickton's statements to police and undercover officers but the move is being opposed by the notorious serial killer's lawyer.

At Pickton's B.C. Supreme Court trial, a jury watched nearly 11 hours of video of the statements and the Crown has produced an edited version to show the Appeal Court panel when the appeal is heard beginning March 30.

B.C. Court of Appeal Chief Justice Lance Finch asked Crown counsel Gregory Fitch why it was so important to show the video when transcripts were available.

Fitch said the answer is that one needs to view the video since it's always been the position of the Crown that the statements amount to a full confession by Pickton.

"Much is lost in simply reading the transcripts. In order to understand the Crown's position, the court will need to look at the video."

But Gil McKinnon, who is representing Pickton during the appeal, told Finch the video did not provide the "proper context" for the 11 hours shown at trial and he will oppose the application.

He said he agreed to excerpts of the statements being included in an agreed statement of facts to assist the court but will not take it to the next step and consent to show an "abbreviated version of the most incriminating aspects of the interrogation."

The defence is appealing Pickton's conviction on six counts of second-degree murder and the Crown is appealing the acquittal of the accused on first-degree murder for the six charges.

Finch heard that the appeal, set to run nine days, will begin with Pickton's appeal in the first week and is to be followed by the Crown appeal in the second week. Six members of the victims' families have said they will attend with another dozen possibly attending.

The next appearance is March 26, when the panel which will hear the appeal will be given a briefing on how the case will unfold.

Pickton still faces 20 additional counts of first-degree murder but the Crown has indicated that only if the defence appeal succeeds will it proceed with a trial on those counts.



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Updated: August 21, 2016