Research-to-Action

Police not told of potential Pickton witnesses

The Globe and Mail
Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Editor's note: On Oct. 19, 2011, The Globe and Mail reported testimony by Dr. Kate Shannon at the inquiry into the police investigation into serial killer Robert Pickton, in which Dr. Shannon was asked about a study from 2005 to 2008 involving 255 street-based prostitutes. Lawyer Cameron Ward asked Dr. Shannon about the timing of disclosures by 23 of those women that they had been to Mr. Pickton's farm, and by another 183 women that they knew women had been to the farm. In the Oct. 19 story, the Globe and Mail reported that those disclosures were made while Mr. Pickton was still on trial, and that Dr. Shannon had not informed police or prosecutors of potential witnesses.

On Nov. 2, the Pickton inquiry revisited Dr. Shannon's testimony, with her lawyer submitting a letter stating that those disclosures were not made until 2008, after Mr. Pickton's trial had concluded. Commission inquiry head Wally Oppal said during that day's proceedings that Mr. Ward's cross-examination created "an incorrect impression that somehow Dr. Shannon was remiss in not asking those women about what they observed on the Pickton farm, when in fact all of that took place after the conviction."