VANCOUVER EASTSIDE MISSING WOMEN
Missing Women inquiry to sit three days this week
BY NEIL HALL, VANCOUVER SUN DECEMBER 12, 2011
VANCOUVER -- The Missing Women inquiry plans to sit three days this week and hear from two witnesses.
The inquiry, which is probing why it took so long to catch serial killer Robert Pickton, will reconvene Wednesday to hear applications by lawyers to sort out the remaining witnesses to be called when the inquiry resumes full-time on Jan. 16.
It will also sit Thursday for the continued cross-examination of Vancouver police Deputy Chief Doug LePard, who has testified for 11 days.
The inquiry is expected to finish the cross-exam of LePard and begin hearing the testimony Friday of Marion Bryce, the mother of Patricia Johnson, who was last seen in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside in 2001.
Pickton was charged with Johnson's murder, along with the murders of 19 other women, as part of a second trial that was never held.
Pickton was convicted in 2007 of six murders of women who disappeared in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. After the serial killer exhausted all appeals, the Crown decided not to proceed on the second trial, which disappointed the victims' families.
In 2006, the trial judge decided to divide Pickton's 26 murder counts into two trials, ruling that one large trial would be too much of a burden for a jury.
The remains and DNA of 33 women were found on Pickton's farm in Port Coquitlam after he was arrested on Feb. 5, 2002.
Pickton, 62, confided to an undercover officer that he killed 49 women and planned to killed more.
Vancouver police received tips as early as 1998 that suggested Pickton was responsible for the women going missing in Vancouver.
Vancouver police passed along the tips to Coquitlam RCMP, which had Pickton under investigation since a March 1997 knife attack of a Vancouver prostitute, who slashed Pickton with a kitchen knife, ran from Pickton's farm onto the road and flagged down a passing car, which took her to hospital. She survived the attack.
Pickton had been charged with unlawful confinement and attempted murder of the woman but the charges were later dropped by the Crown.
The reasons the Crown stayed the charges will be examined next year at the inquiry.
The inquiry will also hold policy forums starting May 1 to hear submissions from organizations and individuals about recommending changes to how police conduct investigations of missing women and suspected multiple homicides in B.C., including homicide investigations involving more than one police jurisdiction.
For more information about the policy forums, contact policy researcher Elizabeth Welch at (604) 681-4470 or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Updated: August 21, 2016