VANCOUVER EASTSIDE MISSING WOMEN
Suits filed against city police, Pickton
A mother is seeking damages following her daughter's death
Wednesday, April 24, 2002
The Vancouver police department and the RCMP failed to properly investigate the disappearance of more than 50 women from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside in recent years, according to a civil suit filed Tuesday in B.C. Supreme Court.
The allegation is contained in one of two suits filed by a lawyer for the mother of Andrea Joesbury, who is seeking damages as a result of the death of her 22-year-old daughter, who disappeared last June.
Port Coquitlam pig farmer Robert (Willy) Pickton, who is named as a defendant in one of the suits, is charged with killing Andrea Joesbury and five other women from the Downtown Eastside who were on the list of those missing.
One of Karin Joesbury's suits names the VPD, the RCMP and the cities of Vancouver and Port Coquitlam, alleging they were negligent in investigating the disappearances, which "allowed the killing to continue."
It alleges the defendants:
"Having identified the existence of a possible serial killer, they did intentionally fail to place proper or adequate investigative resources in place for the purpose of conducting a meaningful investigation.
"Being provided with information from various sources with respect to activity at the [Pickton farm], did fail to pursue in a professional and effective manner that information with full knowledge that other individuals would be killed as a result."
The suit also says Vancouver police and the RCMP failed to disclose information to other police forces that could have solved the case sooner.
The second suit names Pickton and his two siblings, who jointly own the property at 953 Dominion Ave. that has been the subject of a massive police search since Feb. 5.
It asks that the property in question be turned over to Joesbury, given that her daughter's remains were found there.
"The nature of treatment experienced by Andrea prior to her death and the nature of the treatment of the remains of Andrea is a gross and wilful violation of human dignity, is painful to family and has resulted in emotional trauma, distress and spiritual distress, which will continue indefinitely," the suit says, adding that Pickton's siblings should have known what was taking place at the property.
None of the allegations contained in the two suits have been proven or include documentation, and the defendants have not yet filed statements of defence.
Joesbury declined to comment when reached by The Vancouver Sun Tuesday.
Media liaison officers for both the Vancouver police and the RCMP also declined to comment. Both departments are said to be consulting with legal counsel.
Vancouver police Detective Scott Driemel said he did not know if the department had been served yet.
Victoria lawyer Denis Berntsen, who filed the suits on behalf of Joesbury, did not return phone calls.
Both suits claim general, pecuniary and punitive damages, as well as costs.
Several relatives of other women told The Sun last week that they did not agree with a lawsuit being filed too soon because it might interfere with the continuing police investigation.
But some of the families have called for a public inquiry into the initial Vancouver police investigation of the missing women, most of whom were sex trade workers or struggling with drug addiction.
Pickton's next court appearance is set for May 2. He has not yet entered a plea on the six charges.
© Copyright 2002 Vancouver Sun
Courtesy of the Vancouver Sun
Updated: January 01, 2007