Pickton murder trial likely to begin in 2004
Tri-City NewsPort Coquitlam
Saturday July 26, 2003
By Janis Cleugh
A Port Coquitlam man accused of being
Canada’s worst serial killer will stand trial on 15 counts of first-degree
murder, a judge ruled Wednesday.
Judge David Stone committed Port
Coquitlam's Robert Pickton to trial at B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster on
15 counts of first-degree murder.
Judge David Stone committed Robert William Pickton to trial at B.C.
Supreme Court in New Westminster. The 53-year-old will appear Sept. 11 to fix a
date for trial. It is not known when the trial will take place but Pickton’s
defence lawyer, Peter Ritchie, said it will likely last longer than the
"Often times we’re interested in getting through the preliminary hearing
quickly," Ritchie said outside of the courthouse, adding, "It looks like a long,
Ritchie also said it’s difficult to predict when the trial will start as the
search for evidence in the missing women’s case is still going on. Last Sunday,
police expanded their search from Pickton’s property in PoCo to a site in
Pickton, flanked by two sheriffs in a bullet-proof glass cage, showed no emotion
as Judge Stone committed him to stand trial. Wearing a beige shirt and black
jeans, Pickton read from a binder throughout the hearing.
Former First Nations leader Ernie Crey, whose sister Dawn is one of the 61 on
the missing women’s list, said he was pleased with Stone’s decision and remains
hopeful the Missing Women Task Force will find his sister, who was reported
missing in 2000.
Still, Crey said he was disturbed by what he heard in court from Stone.
"The information was read in a very matter-of-fact way," Crey said. "It shocked
me. It staggered me. It troubled me a great deal. I don’t think there was anyone
sitting in that courtroom that was unmoved by what they heard."
The last six months while the preliminary hearing took place, he said, "have
been extraordinarily difficult."
"There’s one question that remains unanswered for me and my entire family, and
that is the fate of my own sister," he said. "I don’t have that answer yet but I
may have in the coming months ahead. I don’t know."
Elaine Allan, who works in Vancouver’s downtown eastside assisting sex-trade
workers and knew many of the 61 women on the police’s missing list, said the
preliminary hearing was "a difficult process."
"I think the Crown prosecution did an excellent job and I think they did the
best they could with such an incredible amount of evidence to deal with," she
said. "I think we’re getting one step close to having justice being served."
Many of the sex-trade workers are not "coping with it well at all," she said. "I
think they’re deeply traumatized. I think they’re very sad.
"One thing that always comes to my mind that I’ve heard people say is, ‘I don’t
care about these women. These women were not important to me. These women were a
drag on society,’ but I think that, as Canadians, we all feel the impact of how
it is we treat our weakest citizens," she said. "These women were among our
Had the preliminary hearing started a month later, Port
Coquitlam’s Robert Pickton would have faced a total of 22 first-degree murder
charges, provincial court Judge David Stone said Wednesday.
Crown Counsel had applied earlier in the preliminary hearing to seek an
additional seven counts against the 53-year-old accused.
The charges were in connection to the deaths of Marnie Frey, Tiffany Drew, Sarah
de Vries, Cindy Felix, Diana Melnick, Angela Jardine and an unidentified woman.
Stone ruled the trial will only proceed on the original 15 murder counts.
Outside the courtroom, prosecutor Mike Petrie refused to comment on the extra
seven charges. Inside court, Petrie told Stone the weapons offences Pickton
faced prior to the murder charges have been stayed.