Negligence alleged in missing women case

The Toronto Star

Apr. 24, 01:00 EDT

VICTORIA (CP) A civil lawsuit filed yesterday alleges Vancouver city police and the RCMP failed to properly investigate the case of 50 missing women negligence, the suit claims, that allowed "the killing to continue."

The suit was one of two filed in B.C. Supreme Court by Karin Joesbury on behalf of her daughter, Andrea Joesbury, one of six women Port Coquitlam pig farmer William Pickton is accused of murdering.

In the other suit, lawyer Denis Berntsen seeks forfeiture of the Pickton farm for use as a memorial site for the women Pickton is accused of killing.

The suits contain allegations that haven't been proved, and the defendants have not yet given their side in statements of defence.

The suit alleging the case was mishandled names the cities of Vancouver and Port Coquitlam and the Vancouver city police and RCMP.

The statement of claim alleges the city of Vancouver and its police "wilfully failed to properly investigate all information received knowing that such wilful failure to investigate would allow the killing to continue.

"Or alternatively, the (city police and RCMP) were negligent in their investigation and such negligence allowed the killing to continue and such negligence amounted to gross negligence."

The suit also alleges that the Vancouver police and RCMP had "identified the existence of a possible serial killer" but failed to properly investigate.

We're alleging that there are wilful actions on behalf of the police not to put the proper resources into this investigation.
Lawyer Denis Berntsen

The suit alleges the police had previously been provided with information from various sources about the pig farm they're now searching, but failed to pursue the information.

Police began an initial search of the pig farm in February.

"We're alleging that there are wilful actions on behalf of the police not to put the proper resources into this investigation," Berntsen said.

In the past few months, friends and relatives of some missing women have called for an inquiry into how police responded in the case.

The Vancouver city police and RCMP formed a joint task force on the case last fall before the pig farm investigation began.

Berntsen also said he expects to add relatives of other victims to the lawsuit within a month.

The suit could eventually become a class action suit on behalf of all the women associated with the case.

Detective Scott Driemel, Vancouver police spokesperson, said the police will not comment until the next joint task force news conference.

As well, RCMP spokesperson Sergeant Grant Learned said the force would not comment while the suits are before the court.

Mother files missing women lawsuits-Apr 24, 2002



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

Updated: August 21, 2016