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Legal group raises fairness question before missing women inquiry


Summary of story from The Province, September 21, 2011

A legal advocacy organisation, the Pivot Legal Society, has pulled out of next month’s Missing Women Commission of Inquiry in Vancouver, Canada, over a lack of funding for legal representation of many of the participants.

The commission will examine how serial killer Robert “Willie” Pickton’s activities went undetected for the five years leading up to his arrest in February 2002, while dozens of disadvantaged women were being reported missing from the Downtown Eastside (see WVoN coverage).

British Columbia’s provincial government, which ordered the inquiry, has failed to adequately fund lawyers for sex worker organizations, women’s groups and Aboriginal groups at the inquiry, Pivot lawyer Doug King said.

“The unfairness is that every police officer and every government official that testifies will have full legal assistance and representation at the table [while] every sex worker and every homeless woman and every marginalized member of the population will be unrepresented,” said David Eby, executive director of the British Columbian Civil Liberties Association, which is also considering pulling out of the inquiry.

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