Women's Group Wants Public Inquiry into Pickton Murders

Dave White, News1130
Date: 
Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Click here to view video of press conference

Inquiry into Pickton probe needed: women's group

Lee Lakeman of Vancouver Rape Relief and Women's Shelter is calling for a broad public inquiry into police officer's treatment of women on the city's Downtown Eastside. Lee Lakeman of Vancouver Rape Relief and Women's Shelter is calling for a broad public inquiry into police officer's treatment of women on the city's Downtown Eastside. (CBC)

A Vancouver women's group says it's not satisfied with the city police department's report into the mishandling of the investigation into convicted serial killer Robert Pickton.

Lee Lakeman, a spokeswoman for Vancouver Rape Relief and Women's Shelter, said the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) report doesn't examine how police treat women and aboriginal residents of the city's troubled Downtown Eastside.

Critics have said police ignored evidence that women were going missing from the neighbourhood because the women in question were drug addicts, prostitutes or of First Nations origin.

Others have called for a public inquiry to look at the deeper reasons why the women ended up living in poverty in the middle of one of Canada's wealthiest cities.

Speaking in downtown Vancouver on Tuesday, Lakeman said the only way to get to the root of the problems with the Pickton investigation is through a public inquiry.

"We only have this report because the police need to have a way of protecting themselves from lawsuits," said Lakeman. "But of primary importance to us is that very ordinary things police departments can do about violence against women, they didn't do in this case."

The B.C. government said it plans to launch a judicial review of or public inquiry into the police investigation but will wait until the cabinet reconvenes in September to decide what form that review will take.

The internal police review of the investigation, released last Friday, said the department and the RCMP were at fault for not moving fast enough to arrest Pickton when they had enough evidence to do so in 1999.

Pickton was eventually arrested in 2002 and convicted in the deaths of six women in 2007.