Police respond to lawsuits filed in Pickton aftermath 0
Mounties and the Vancouver police have responded to a lawsuit filed by the children of women killed by convicted murderer Robert Pickton (pictured). (REUTERS/GLOBAL TV)
A lawyer representing nine children of women killed by Robert Pickton said Monday the government response to lawsuits regarding their deaths has dashed any hope an out-of-court settlement could be reached.
On behalf of the plaintiffs, Jason Gratl is suing the Vancouver Police Department for compensation for alleged psychological harm suffered by their mothers’ disappearances. In addition, seven have filed suit against the RCMP.
Gratl said his clients put forward offers in July in hope the case would be settled out of court. While the offers haven’t been formally rejected in court, he believes the lack of an answer means police want to continue the litigation.
“We’ll move forward. This strengthens our resolve and crystallizes our belief that litigation, that the government will do the right thing only if forced to by litigation,” he said. “They had all of August and September to consider our offers to settle and they just refused to either accept them or reject them.”
Plaintiff Brittney Frey’s grandfather, Rick Frey, father of murder victim Marnie Frey, said Monday he’s tired of hearing about the case.
He wished settlement offers, which would have been $60,000 to $110,000 per plaintiff, were accepted.
“I wonder if they really know what the kids are going through in all of this,” he said of his 21-year-old, Campbell River-based granddaughter. “It’s like putting the candy on the table and when you go to reach for it, they jerk it away.”
Both the VPD and RCMP earlier apologized for not catching Pickton sooner.
The former said in its response to Frey’s claim, filed by the City of Vancouver, that officers made “reasonable efforts” to find and investigate the disappearances, and had put up an $100,000 reward in 1999 for information.
It’s not the fault of the VPD if Brittney Frey suffered any loss, damages or expenses, the response said, and that police “exercised reasonable care, skill and diligence” and complied with standards and practices on any investigation into Marnie Frey.
Both RCMP and the VPD noted they didn’t have any “duty to warn” the deceased prior to her death.
The Mounties’ response said Frey’s disappearance wasn’t reported to the force and there was no information suggesting Pickton posed a threat to Frey.
“The RCMP defendants specifically deny that they knew, or ought to have known, of the risk posed by a serial killer or Robert Pickton as alleged in … the notice of civil claim.”
Pickton was convicted in 2007 for the deaths of Frey and five others.