Families fear further delays of inquiry into Pickton investigation

An inquiry into B.C.’s missing women has been expanded beyond looking into how police handled the investigation, B.C. Attorney-General Barry Penner announced Monday.

But family and friends of the missing women fear the addition of a study inquiry to the commission’s existing hearings will cause further delays.

“I’m getting really frustrated because I just want the inquiry to get under way,” said Ernie Crey, whose sister Dawn is one of the missing women.

“It’s urgent the inquiry get under way … and produce recommendations on how policing can be improved so we don’t see a repeat of a Robert Pickton-like tragedy,” he said.

Pickton was convicted on six counts of second-degree murder in March last year, and sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years.

But charges were stayed in 20 other cases of women who went missing from Vancouver’s Downtown East Side. Dawn Crey was among those cases never heard in court, although her DNA was found on Pickton’s Coquitlam farm.

But a commission spokesman said the new study inquiry will not delay the start of formal hearings, which have been held up to date because some RCMP documents have not been received.

Spokesman Chris Fremond said the study inquiry announced Monday will start June 13 in northern B.C., and travel to other communities in the area over a seven-day period, before moving to Vancouver where the formal hearings will be held.

Crey said he originally supported the informal study inquiry so the commission could hear about the social, health and housing policies that “play a role in confining poor, mentally-ill, and drug-dependent women in Vancouver’s Downtown East Side.

“Forced to live in the DTES makes these women vulnerable to predators like Robert Pickton,” he said.

But after the long struggle to get the B.C. government to agree to a public inquiry, Crey said he’s now worried the study inquiry will hold up the start of the formal hearings.

“Now with the study inquiry approved, further delays will only serve to hurt and discourage the families most directly affected by the Pickton killings, and those other families still waiting for word on a missing loved one,” he said.

The study inquiry will hear submissions without requiring an oath, while the formal commission hearings may make findings of misconduct.

The commission will look into how police investigations were conducted into reports of missing women between Jan. 23, 1997 and Feb. 5, 2002. It will also review the January,1998 decision by B.C.’s criminal justice branch to stay charges against Pickton for the assault of a Downtown East Side sex trade worker.

Had Pickton been picked up and convicted on that charge, most of the murders would not have taken place.

The Vancouver Police Department has already apologized for the mistakes it made in the investigation, and released a report to the public.

Just Posted

Unique treasures to be found at Chilliwack Christmas Craft Market

The 44th annual event is the Chilliwack Community Arts Council’s largest fundraiser

Chilliwack toy drive brings in gifts, money to Ann Davis Transition Society

People dropped by Superstore to donate toys and more for those in need this holiday season

Seven Days in Chilliwack

A list of community events happening in Chilliwack from Nov. 18 to 24

Chilliwack RCMP find chemicals and cannabis extract in illicit lab

Marijuana may be legal but altering it using chemicals violates the Cannabis Act

Chilliwack RCMP seek suspects in rash of poppy donation box thefts

Incidents at four different locations in Sardis in the days leading up to Remembrance Day

REPLAY: B.C’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week across the province

Death toll rises to 76 in California fire with winds ahead

Nearly 1,300 people remain unaccounted for more than a week after the fire began

Trump says report on Khashoggi death expected in a few days

Jamal Khashoggi was a columnist for The Washington Post who was slain Oct. 2 inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul

CUPW requests mediator as deadline for Canada Post offer expires without deal

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau weighed in Saturday night with a last-minute plea to the two sides

Trudeau says he won’t negotiate in public on future of LGBTQ rights in USMCA

Legislators urged Trump not to sign the agreement unless the language was removed.

Price makes 36 saves as Habs edge Canucks 3-2

Late goal lifts Montreal past Vancouver

BC Minister of Agriculture loses stepson to accidental overdose

Lana Popham announces death of her 23-year-old stepson, Dan Sealey

Canadian military’s template for perfect recruits outdated: Vance

Gen. Jonathan Vance, the chief of defence staff says that the military has to change because the very nature of warfare is changing, particularly when it comes to cyber-warfare

Most Read