Former Crown worker has no memory of meeting Pickton attack victim, inquiry told

The Missing Women inquiry heard today that a former Crown victim services worker who met with a victim of a 1997 knife attack by Robert Pickton had no memory of the meeting.


VANCOUVER -- The Missing Women inquiry heard today that a former Crown victim services worker who met with a victim of a 1997 knife attack by Robert Pickton had no memory of the meeting.

Roxana Smith testified that she recalled attending the meeting in January 1998, but could not recall the condition of the crime victim, whose name is banned and is referred to as Ms. Anderson at the inquiry.

"I cannot recall," she said when asked if the Crown requested to refer Anderson to any services that might assist her, such as drug counselling.

Smith said she probably would have taken notes if she had referred the woman to services and assumed those notes would become part of the Crown's file.

The inquiry was told earlier that the Crown's file on the 1997 incident was mistakenly destroyed by a mobile shredding service, along with 50 boxes of Crown files.

The Crown policy was to preserve the file for 75 because it was a serious crime.

After the meeting that Smith attended with Anderson and Crown counsel Randi Connor, the charges of attempted murder, unlawful confinement and aggravated assault were stayed against Pickton.

Connor testified last week that she decided to stay the charges on Jan. 26, 1998 -- a week before the five-day trial was to start -- because Anderson attended the meeting high on drugs, was nodding off and couldn't articulate the evidence.

Connor pointed out she left the door open -- charges could have been reactivated for up to a year -- for police to try to get Anderson in shape so she could testify against Pickton.

The prosecutor said it was not her responsibility to try to get the woman help by making sure she got proper rest or get into a rehab program.

On Thursday, the inquiry will hear the testimony of Judge Richard Romano, who in 1998 was the administrative Crown for Port Coquitlam and had approved Connor's staying of charges against Pickton.

The charges stemmed from a March 23, 1997, knife attack on Anderson, a Downtown Eastside sex worker who was picked up by Pickton and taken to his farm in Port Coquitlam.

The woman recalled that when Pickton put a handcuff on one of her wrists, she began fighting him off and throwing things at him. She told police she grabbed a kitchen knife and slashed Pickton's neck.

Pickton got the knife and stabbed Anderson a number of times, she told police. When he loosened his grip on her, Anderson ran to the street and flagged down a passing car.

She later died in hospital but was revived. Pickton ended up in the same hospital and police found a handcuff key in his pocket, which was used to remove the handcuff dangling from Anderson's wrist.

After the charges were stayed, Pickton went on to kill 19 women, mainly drug-addicted survival sex workers from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.

Many of the women had children and were loved by their families, the inquiry was told this week by family members of the murdered and missing women.

After Pickton's arrest in 2002, police made sure Anderson was fit to testify against Pickton at his preliminary hearing in 2003, when he was facing multiple murder counts.

Pickton was eventually convicted of six murders at his first trial in 2007.

After he exhausted all his appeals, the Crown chose not to proceed on a second trial on the 20 murder counts.

Pickton once confided that he killed 49 women.

The inquiry is probing the investigative failures that resulted in Pickton not being caught sooner.

The inquiry, which began hearings last Oct. 11, are expected to continue into May.

Inquiry Commissioner Wally Oppal must submit his report to government by June 30.




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

Updated: August 21, 2016