VANCOUVER EASTSIDE MISSING WOMEN
Families of Pickton's alleged victims told more charges to be laid Wednesday
By GREG JOYCE
May 24, 2005
VANCOUVER (CP) - Some family members of alleged victims of accused serial killer Robert Pickton were informed Tuesday that more charges will be laid against the former pig farmer.
The father of one missing woman said he got a call from provincial Crown officials and was told that more charges would be laid during a court appearance with Pickton on Wednesday in New Westminster. "They called to let us know they will be laying more charges," the man told The Canadian Press.
The mother of another missing woman also said she had been given the same information.
"I'm very glad," the woman said. "They are acknowledging that my daughter once lived."
Pickton, a pig farmer from suburban Port Coquitlam, is already charged with 15 counts of first-degree murder connected to some of the dozens of missing women from Vancouver's tough Downtown Eastside.
The Crown has said previously that it expected to add another seven counts before the trial and DNA samples of nine additional women have been identified on the farm.
As well, there is a sample from an unknown woman.
The trial is expected to begin in the fall with a lengthy voir dire, or trial within a trial which often examines evidence before it is presented to a jury. The portion of the trial would be conducted under a publication ban.
The trial portion before a jury is expected to begin in January in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster.
Starting on Wednesday, Justice Geoffrey Barrow will hear disclosure arguments from the Crown and defence.
Pickton, 55, has been in custody since his arrest Feb. 7, 2002, when police descended on the farm and other property he and his family owned.
Dozens of investigators, aided by forensic anthropologists, took apart every building on the pig farm and sifted through hundreds of tonnes of dirt looking for evidence.
The father who was called by victims' services said he and his wife were asked not to attend the proceedings Wednesday because they might be called as witnesses when the trial begins.
He said he was relieved to finally hear that more charges would be laid.
"I've been kind of . . . well, it's about bloody time," he said.
The mother of the missing woman said she was also told not to attend Wednesday.
Pickton's court appearances have occurred about once every six months, prompting members of the families to express frustration at the length of time it has taken to go to trial.
At one court appearance, Associate Chief Justice Patrick Dohm made a plea to the families of the women Pickton is accused of killing and asked for their understanding in the continuing delays.
Pickton was committed to stand trial at the conclusion of a lengthy preliminary hearing that began in January 2003 and concluded six months later.
Updated: August 21, 2016