|Will Justice Be Denied to the Families of the Murdered Women of the Downtown Eastside?|
NEWS RELEASE - July 30, 2010
(Vancouver, BC July 30, 2010) This morning the Supreme Court of Canada ruled unanimously that Robert Pickton’s six convictions for second-degree murder are affirmed and dismissed Pickton’s appeal for a retrial. Public statements by the B.C. Crown’s office indicate, the Crown will likely stay the remaining 20 outstanding murder charges against Pickton.
In March 2009, a coalition of aboriginal leaders, community groups and family members sent a letter to Premier Gordon Campbell, the Attorney General of B.C., the Solicitor General of B.C. demanding an immediate public inquiry into the missing and murdered women of the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver and the Highway of Tears, Highway 16, in northern B.C., immediate support for families and commencement of the trial for the additional 20 murdered victims of Robert Pickton.
“The Union of BC Indian Chiefs calls on the B.C. Crown to proceed with the remaining 20 outstanding murder charges and not deny the justice and closure for the families whose loved ones were stolen from their lives,” said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. “They are not 20 outstanding charges; they were beloved mothers, treasured daughters, dear sisters and much-loved aunties to their families. How can they be so readily dismissed because of a decision that reeks of saving dollars and cents?”
In addition, the March 2009 letter stated that the B.C. Government should not wait for Pickton to exhaust his appeals and called for an inquiry into the policing and government failings surrounding the murdered and missing women. The B.C. Government publicly stated that the government would respect the judicial process before announcing its decision on a public inquiry.
“Now that the Supreme Court of Canada has rendered its decision, the UBCIC feels it is vitally important that a public inquiry into the government, police and Crown actions, or inaction, immediately take place. In fact, both the Vancouver Police Department and the RCMP have voiced their support for a public inquiry. What families are seeking is honesty, accountability, change and reconciliation to honour their loved ones in the hopes that this horrific tragedy never be repeated”
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, Union of BC Indian Chiefs
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The UBCIC is a NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.