Crown file on Pickton attempted murder charge destroyed in 2000, inquiry hears

    1 of 1 2 of 1

      Two years after staying an attempted murder charge against Robert Pickton, Crown counsel destroyed its file on a violent altercation at his farm in 1997.

      The B.C. missing women inquiry heard today (April 11) that the documents were destroyed despite a Crown policy requiring files on serious cases, such as attempted murder charges, to be archived for 75 years.

      “There’s no question that that file should have been archived,” said Randi Connor, a Crown prosecutor that handled the case, during cross-examination from lawyer Cameron Ward.

      The file on the Pickton charges was part of 71 boxes of documents that were destroyed in 2000, according to criminal justice branch lawyer Leonard Doust. Further details on why the file was destroyed are expected to be presented to the inquiry soon.

      The commission is currently examining why charges of attempted murder, assault with a weapon, forcible confinement and aggravated assault against Pickton were stayed in January 1998. The inquiry heard during Connor’s first day of testimony Tuesday (April 10) that the victim in the case appeared too incoherent from drug use to provide credible evidence.

      The victim, who was found near Pickton’s Port Coquitlam farm suffering from serious injuries, had also knifed Pickton during the altercation.

      Ward asked Connor whether she had notified the victim, known to the inquiry as Ms. Anderson, of her decision not to proceed with a scheduled five-day trial on the charges.

      “Why didn’t you speak to her about the fact you were contemplating staying the charge... or have any sort of discussion with her about that?” he asked.

      “Unfortunately, my contact with her was only through the mum, and my recollection was the mum was called,” said Connor.

      According to Ward, a transcript of an interview with the witness indicates she called Connor at home to express her disapproval when she heard of the decision to stay the charges.

      Connor disputed the witness’ account of that phone call, noting that she can’t remember the conversation taking place, and that while the witness referred to Connor’s daughter answering the phone, she didn’t have a daughter.

      “With all due respect to Ms. Anderson...I think she is simply mistaken about that conversation,” said Connor.

      The witness was scheduled to appear before the inquiry this week, but was too concerned about protecting the privacy of her and her family to testify, commission counsel Art Vertlieb told the inquiry Tuesday.

      Pickton was arrested in 2002 and has been convicted in the second-degree murders of six women. He once confessed to an undercover police officer that he had killed 49.

      The missing women inquiry was established by the B.C. government to examine the police investigations of the disappearances of women from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside in the years leading up to Pickton’s arrest.



      take note

      Apr 11, 2012 at 11:35pm

      do not destroy the files because they may be invaluable in stopping a serial killer
      this inquiry is not about the mistakes people made but a way to save lives
      not something the proffessionals where able to do so everyone has a lesson to learn, so learn but with dignity and grace. We all make mistakes and we hurt others, not dilbertately but not to acknowledge there where mistakes made is as good as killing others because open, honest communication will help make the necessary changes that need to be made. Isn't that why many of the law proffessinals got into it in the first place was to help others?

      4 3Rating: +1

      Priscilla Judd

      Apr 12, 2012 at 1:45am

      Back then - I heard in the news that the Police often went to Picton's farm for coffee.

      Picton's farm was portrayed in the newspapers like a police hangout - friendly sort of place... I remember thinking that was weird when I heard about a naked woman who escaped from the farm - so the only thing I could think was that the police who dropped over to the farm for coffee were undercover police - I never thought about it much until now.

      Does anyone else remember that portrayal? Anyone have old news clippings? Maybe it would come up in a google search - someone could at least ask the question - or maybe they have.

      Did the files contain that info? Is anyone going to find the old news clippings or ask that question?

      3 1Rating: +2


      Apr 12, 2012 at 9:23am

      take note - there are subjects and actions that you can equivocate - ignoring a blatant serial killer for more than a decade is not one of them. You're not helping your cause (whatever that is) by continuing trying to play down the horrific ignorance displayed by our law enforcement (ignorant at best - psychopathic uncaring at worst).

      4 2Rating: +2

      Mark Fornataro

      Apr 14, 2012 at 8:50am

      It seems the Crown is still not taking attacks on prostitutes seriously enough. In a recent case in Victoria(see link) a man was charged and convicted for aggravated sexual assault (in a case where he left a prostitute for dead) instead of the more serious charge of attempted murder. Even the presiding Judge concluded " Johnston's claim of poor memory was an attempt to shelter himself from the law."

      6 3Rating: +3


      Apr 18, 2012 at 1:00am

      Wouldn't Pickton's lawyer and the RCMP have copies of the Crown's file? I would have thought the Crown would have to provide them with all of that material. The RCMP probably lost their file too but Pickton's lawyer would have hung on to his. If so can't he be compelled to turn it over?

      2 8Rating: -6