December 3, 2007
The plan had been to split the charges against alleged serial killer Robert Pickton in to two sets. The first six murder charges would be dealt with in one trial, the remaining twenty would be covered in a second trial. The second trial, it was said by prosecutors, would take place regardless of the outcome of the first trial. However, criminal lawyers across Canada say that may not happen.
If Pickton is found guilty, the lawyers suggest, he’d be sentenced to life in prison. Since he couldn’t serve consecutive life sentences, there’d be no reason for the Crown to try the other charges. (This first trial has lasted ten months and cost millions of dollars.)
If Pickton is found not guilty, the Crown would be unlikely to try the remaining charges since the six from the first trial were chosen because they represented the Crown’s best case. With no reasonable expectation of a conviction, the Crown would be hesitant to proceed.
Either way, canceling the second trial likely wouldn’t sit well with the families of the victims. While only six charges are being dealt with in Pickton’s present trial, the families of all the victims, as well as a huge group of citizens, have taken a very deep and personal interest in this case. The families of all the victims, not just the first six, want their day in court.
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