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

Chilliwack’s Chief Ernie Crey a firm pipeline supporter

Crey lauds NEB focus on marine safety in his role representing Indigenous oversight committee

Measles case confirmed within Fraser Health region

One case within Fraser Health is related to the outbreak in three Vancouver schools.

Harrison Festival to share the culture behind the music

Festival director Andy Hillhouse will be talking about nationalism in music, starting March 1

Risk of ‘deadly avalanches’ leads to warning for B.C.’s south coast

Weak layer of snow on Vancouver Island, Lower Mainland could trigger an avalanche

Another snowfall warning for Lower Mainland

Another 5-10 cm expected for Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley and Sunshine Coast

VIDEO: Wheelchairs teach Agassiz students acceptance through sport

Teacher Donna Gallamore brought wheelchairs to the Kent Elementary for learning and fun

B.C. Special Olympics officially underway in Vernon

Athlete’s Oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Vancouver Aquarium wants your help to name a baby killer whale

The public helped name Springer’s first calf, Spirit, and is being asked to help with the second

Guards protest firing of fellow officers charged with assault at B.C. prison

Corrections officers demonstrated in Maple Ridge on Friday afternoon

Skier dies at Revelstoke Mountain Resort

Cause of death for young man has not been released

R. Kelly charged with 10 counts of sexual abuse

R&B star has been accused of sexual misconduct involving women and underage girls for years

More sailings coming to 10 BC Ferries’ routes

Transportation Minister Claire Trevena said the sailings were originally cut in 2014

Cryptocurrency exchange CEO who suddenly died leaves Kelowna house in will

Gerald Cotten, holding the keys to money tied up in his virtual currency exchange, died in December.

Regulator’s report, coming today, unlikely to settle Trans Mountain pipeline battle

The Trans Mountain pipeline will remain a controversial topic both in the political ring and out

Most Read