Month extension for Missing Women’s Inquiry report
Kerry Porth, Honouring Truth organizer and former sex trade worker at Vancouver Public Library Plaza in Vancouver, British Columbia, Thursday October 25, 2012 (CARMINE MARINELLI / 24 HOURS)
The head of the Missing Women’s Commission of Inquiry has been granted a one-month extension for the final report examining the police investigation into convicted serial killer Robert Pickton.
The B.C. Attorney General’s office confirmed Thursday commissioner Wally Oppal now has until Nov. 30 to submit his report, which has been in the works since June following three months of testimony from police, victims’ families and community advocates, among others.
Previously, families and lawyers had repeatedly asked Justice Minister Shirley Bond for more time to hear additional key witnesses at the inquiry scrutinizing why it took so long for police to catch Pickton, as dozens of sex trade workers vanished from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside between 1997 and 2002, many of them aboriginal.
Oppal was criticized for requesting more time to write his report and was granted an additional four months, making it due for government submission by Oct. 31.
Jason Gratl, the independent counsel representing the interests of various parties from Vancouver’s DTES, told 24 hours he was under considerable time constraints to submit his own report, which was released to the public in August.
He appeared at the Vancouver Public Library’s outdoor plaza Thursday as sex trade workers and victims’ families spent the afternoon reading aloud his 100-page report.
Gratl said the event, which was originally meant to recognize the completion of the inquiry’s final report next week, was a great honour since “sex workers are, in effect, adopting my report and submissions as their own.”
Event organizer Kerry Porth, a recovering addict and former sex trade worker, hoped the extension would make Oppal’s report stronger.
“It’s a bit disheartening when the families were pleading for an extension (to the inquiry) … and every time Mr. Oppal wants an extension to write his report, he gets one.”