Dianne Rock

As readers of this blog may know, Neil Chantler and I are counsel for the families of Dianne Rock, Georgina Papin, Marnie Frey, Cynthia Dawn Feliks, Cara Ellis, Mona Wilson, Helen May Hallmark, Dawn Crey, Angela Hazel Williams, Jacqueline Murdock, Brenda Wolfe, Andrea Joesbury, Elsie Sebastian, Heather Bottomley, Andrea Borhaven, Tiffany Drew, Angela Jardine, Stephanie Lane, Tanya Holyk and Olivia Williams at the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry.

Dianne Rock’s sister, Lilliane Beaudoin, has travelled from Welland, Ontario with her husband Rene, who has taken time off his job as a mobile crane operator to be here.  They have attended, no, endured, every moment of the hearings, which began on October 11, 2011.  Lilliane herself testified and described how her sister, a beautiful and vivacious young woman with three children and a good job as a health care aide looking after quadriplegics, fell on hard times in 2000 when her second marriage ended.  She turned to cocaine and was last seen on October 19, 2001.  Dianne’s family was dealt a cruel blow when her DNA was discovered on property owned by Robert William Pickton and his brother.  Pickton was charged with Dianne’s murder, but in another cruel blow, the charge was stayed after the Attorney General determined that it would not be in the public interest to spend money on a second trial if Pickton’s six convictions were upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada.

Rene and Lilliane have watched and listened as a litany of police investigative errors have been exposed.  They must be in agony each time they hear that Pickton was the prime suspect in a string of women’s disappearances as early as August of 1998, but the VPD and RCMP failed to act on the credible information in their possession.  It wasn’t until February 5, 2002 that a junior RCMP officer, Nathan Wells, found evidence of some of the missing women in Pickton’s trailer while he was executing a search warrant on an unrelated matter.  Rene and Lilliane’s pain must be unimaginable each time they hear a reference to Pickton’s “grinder” or to the bone fragments found on the property.

How could the police have apparently failed so miserably?  That is the question at the heart of this public inquiry, and Rene and Lilliane Beaudoin have been patiently waiting for the police investigators to take the stand, so we can ask the many questions the family has on their behalf.  They will have to be even more patient, as it looks like no police investigator will appear on the stand until some time in January, 2012.  Dianne Rock’s sister is trying to process today’s news that, to meet a self – imposed deadline of April 30, 2012, Commission Counsel may decide not to call important witnesses and the Commission may limit cross-examination.

This family doesn’t deserve any more cruelty.  It would be a shame if now, after a wait of more than a decade for this opportunity, Rene and Lilliane are denied the truth, justice and accountability they need when it isso  nearly within their grasp.