January 10, 2008
Both the defense and the prosecution have called for an appeal in the conviction of a man who may be Canada’s worst serial killer, Robert Pickton.
Defense attorneys for Pickton claim Justice James Williams made several errors during the trial, including not asking the jury to clarify a question they posed part way through deliberations, giving them a confusing answer to their question, and allowing the jury to hear statements Pickton made to police.
Prosecutors argue that Justice Williams erred in severing the twenty-six charges against Pickton into two separate trials, the one just concluded covering six of those charges, and one still to be held covering the remaining twenty. They also insist essential evidence was kept from the jury, and that Justice Williams’ instructions to the jury should have made it clear that dismembering and disposing of the victims was a clear indication of planning and deliberation, and that Pickton was therefore guilty of first-degree murder, not second-degree as the jury concluded.
The prosecution made sure to launch their appeal first. If they’re successful, Pickton could be re-tried on all twenty-six charges of first-degree murder. If the defense appeal had been filed first, it’s possible those six convictions for second-degree murder already handed down might not have been elevated to first-degree.
In any case, Pickton’s days in court are far from over.
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