Ernie Cray stands at the gate of the former pig farm owned by serial killer Robert "Willie" Pickton in Port Coquitlam, B.C. Cray's sister Dawn was one of Pickton's victims.

Andy Clark / Reuters filesErnie Cray stands at the gate of the former pig farm owned by serial killer Robert “Willie” Pickton in Port Coquitlam, B.C. Cray’s sister Dawn was one of Pickton’s victims.

Robert Pickton inquiry: Police are withholding critical documents, lawyer says

By Suzanne Fournier

VANCOUVER — A lawyer representing the families of missing or murdered women at the inquiry into the bungled police investigation of serial killer Robert William “Willie” Pickton demanded Monday that police and government be compelled to produce a wide array of documents.

Neil Chantler, who represents the families of 25 of the women, told the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry that this may be the public’s “last chance” to find out what really happened to stall the police investigation of Pickton until after he had killed as many as 49 women, by his own count, even though police had their suspicions about him years earlier.

Chantler argued the inquiry should have such crucial RCMP documents as profiles done of both Robert and his brother Dave Pickton and the Hell’s Angels cohorts or hangers-on at the Pickton family business, the after-hours drinking spot Piggy’s Palace. (Dave Pickton’s nickname was Piggy and Piggy’s Palace was frequented by many off-duty officers and even municipal politicians.)

Yet RCMP files on the Picktons still have not been disclosed in their entirety, and the RCMP has retained the right to heavily redact most documents before disclosure, said Chantler.

Chantler and fellow lawyer for the families, Cameron Ward, have made repeated but so far futile requests to see police files, Crown counsel reports, and Vancouver Police Department and RCMP emails.

Just last Friday, said Chantler, a researcher trolling through heavily edited RCMP documents noticed a file about a previously undisclosed police visit to the Port Coquitlam pig farm of the Pickton brothers, just three months before Robert was finally arrested in February, 2002.

Simon Hayter for National Post files

Simon Hayter for National Post filesVancouver lawyer Cameron Ward

A new affidavit Monday from researcher Robin Whitehead notes that RCMP visited the farm and spoke to Robert Pickton just weeks before his arrest. While police were there “they saw an unidentified man covered in blood, in the barn, butchering a pig with a knife,” said Chantler.

“We know that after Robert Pickton was arrested, visible human remains were found in the barn area and elsewhere. This is a relevant and probative document,” said Chantler.

The man’s identity is still unknown, but Chantler argued the inquiry should have that file and all the others.

Robert Pickton was not arrested, nor was his farm searched, until after a rookie RCMP officer wrote up a firearms search warrant in early February 2002. That search quickly turned up evidence of missing women — in fact the farm was strewn with human remains both in plain view as well as scattered and buried all around the property.

Inside the inquiry, VPD lawyer Sean Hern protested the “very grave allegations” made by Ward on his blog that the inquiry is a “whitewash . . . a coverup, a bag of tricks or that sanitizing of documents” has occurred. Hern said the VPD has provided tens of thousands of documents to the inquiry to date.

“There’s no compelling theory into any possible reason why we would want to withhold” documents, said Hern. He noted that the VPD’s Missing Persons files, for example, have been the focus of “intense self-criticism” by the VPD itself. Hern said the VPD would like to have access to several missing women files it cannot find, such as those concerning Elsie Sebastian, Cara Ellis, Cynthia Feliks and Angela Jardine.

Lawyer Len Doust, appearing for the B.C. Criminal Justice Branch, denied the branch is withholding files about a 1997 attempted murder case, after Pickton almost killed a sex-trade worker taken from Vancouver to his farm. Doust said the files have, in fact, been destroyed.

Commission head Wally Oppal heard the complaints about disclosure made by Chantler and lawyers Jason Gratl and Robyn Gervais, on behalf of First Nations and Downtown Eastside groups, but has issued no ruling. He said the inquiry already has generated “200,000 pages of disclosure” and indicated he intends to stick to a strict timetable of concluding hearings by the end of April.

Oppal has pledged to hand in his final report to government by the end of June, 2012.

Postmedia News

My Comment:  Missing files of murdered women, unidentified DNA, VPD withholding documents-COVER-UP!Dave Dickson, former Vancouver Police officer pictured below, was identified as an alleged killer.  The missing police files probably show this man with the victims just before they disappeared as well as with guilty RCMP officers.  Canadian police have much to hide.

Arlen Redekop / Postmedia News

Arlen Redekop / Postmedia NewsFormer Vancouver police officer Dave Dickson.


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