On Wednesday evening, January 19, 2011, Commissioner Wallace Oppal and thirteen of the Commission’s staff members attended an emotional pre-hearing forum in Vancouver. We attended in our capacity as legal counsel for the families of the following victims or alleged victims of convicted serial killer Robert William Pickton: Georgina Papin, Mona Wilson, Marnie Frey, Dianne Rock, Cara Ellis, Cynthia Dawn Feliks, Helen Mae Hallmark and Dawn Crey. We told Mr. Oppal that, although many of our clients are skeptical of the process, we have urged them to give the Commission a chance, as it will likely be their best opportunity to obtain answers to the many questions they have about why Pickton was able to prey on women in Vancouver’s downtown eastside for many years.

We are anxious to start working in earnest on the file, but we have not yet received confirmation that the families’ expenses in respect of the Commission hearings will be reimbursed. It is noteworthy that Pickton himself reportedly received some $12 million in public funds to cover his legal expenses for the criminal proceedings against him.