Pickton prelim adjourns until Feb. 19

Monday, February 10, 2003

PORT COQUITLAM, B.C. (CP) -- The preliminary hearing for Canada's worst accused serial killer was adjourned for more than a week Monday but lawyers say it could shorten the proceedings overall.

Accused serial killer Robert Pickton

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The judge approved the break until Feb. 19 to give Robert Pickton's defence team time to prepare for additional material it recently received from the Crown.

Crown prosecutor Michael Petrie had advised the provincial court last week that both he and the defence would likely seek the adjournment because material that is required to be disclosed to the defence had only recently become available.

Petrie said by taking an adjournment now, both sides felt that the overall timing of the preliminary hearing could be advanced considerably and might be completed by early May.

Judge David Stone had expressed concern about a delay because he said court resources, including additional sheriffs for security at the Port Coquitlam courthouse, had been previously arranged.

But the judge also said he would not force the defence to proceed with cross-examination of Crown witnesses if it was not prepared.

Pickton, a Port Coquitlam pig farmer, is charged with killing 15 women who are among 61 identified as missing from drug-riddled Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.

The trial will almost certainly not begin until early 2004 or perhaps even later.

The 53-year-old Pickton has been in custody since his arrest on Feb. 22 last year.

A huge police investigative team has been painstakingly searching Pickton's Port Coquitlam farm for more than a year.

The preliminary hearing is being conducted under a sweeping publication ban.

 Copyright  2003 Canadian Press

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Updated: August 21, 2016