In 2007, Robert Pickton, a pig farmer from British Columbia, Canada, was found guilty on six charges of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years. Of course, his defense attorneys appealed. This past week, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld the convictions and soon afterward the B.C. Supreme Court stayed the remaining charges in 20 other murders.
Now that the due process of law has run its course, other evidence, unheard during Pickton’s original trial, has been unsealed and is being revealed.
A couple of facts:
– A Vancouver prostitute claimed Pickton tried to kill her in 1997, five years before his first murder charge.
– Meat found in Pickton’s freezer was contaminated with human DNA.
Should the jury in Pickton’s original trial have been allowed to hear this evidence? Might they have reached a different verdict if they had? Would they have found Pickton guilty of first-degree murder?
It’s impossible to know if the outcome would have been any different had additional evidence been presented. Nor is it unusual for evidence to be withheld from a jury if it’s not directly related to the charges at hand, and if it may prejudice the jurors one way or the other.
If you were on trial for some crime, would you want the jury to know about every other misdeed you may have committed in your life?