nine justices said that despite flaws in the trial judge’s instructions to the
jury, there was no miscarriage of justice that would warrant retrying the
60-year-old Pickton, who is serving a life sentence with no chance of parole for
“Certainly, this was a long and difficult trial — but it was also a fair one,”
wrote Justice Louis LeBel.
“Despite the errors set out above, there was no miscarriage of justice
occasioned by the trial proceedings. Mr. Pickton was entitled to the same
measure of justice as any other person in this country. He received it. He is
not entitled to more.”
The ruling is the latest development in a grisly saga that began when Pickton
was arrested in 2002 and charged with murder after authorities began uncovering
butchered and dismembered body parts on his farm in Port Coquitlam B.C.
Although PIckton faces an additional 20 murder charges, prosecutors had said
they would not pursue those charges unless the Supreme Court ordered a new
Although the justices differed in their reasons for throwing out Pickton’s
appeal, they agreed the trial judge’s instructions to the jury were adequate.
There was no injustice, they said, and the evidence against Pickton was so
overwhelming that he would have been convicted in any case.
The appeal had centred on Pickton’s argument there had been a miscarriage of
justice when the trial judge, in response to a question from the jury six days
into their deliberations, broadened his instructions.
At the time, Justice James Williams said they could convict Pickton if they
found he was an “active participant” in the murders and not just the sole
perpetrator of the crimes, as he had suggested in his original instructions.
The defence said the shift changed the “goal posts” to the detriment of Pickton.
The Supreme Court disagreed, saying the defence itself had widened the goal
posts by arguing throughout the trial that others, not Pickton, had committed