Steven Point, the former lieutenant governor of British Columbia, has resigned as chair of the advisory committee on the safety and security of vulnerable women because of lawsuits that put him in a difficult legal position.
Point told CBC News he stepped down because statements he might make could become evidence at several civil lawsuits launched by the children of women whose remains were found on the farm of serial killer Robert Pickton.
"I came to the conclusion that everything that we were going to do was around and with the families, and so when you proceed to litigation it just changes everything, and so I had this discussion with government and I decided it would be best for me to step down," said Point.
The lawsuits were launched by the children of Dianne Rock, Sarah de Vries, Cynthia Feliks and Yvonne Boen. They claim police failed to warn sex workers about a serial killer in the Downtown Eastside and even provided false assurances they were safe.
B.C. Justice Minister Shirley Bond confirmed Point stepped down because the lawsuits put him in a difficult position legally.
"The plaintiffs have put Mr. Point on notice that, in his role as chair of the advisory committee, his comments and remarks may well become evidence in the course of the litigation," Bond said in a statement issued Friday morning.
"This would have placed an impossible burden on Mr. Point to avoid making statements that could be misinterpreted or be used in or influence the course of litigation.
"I appreciate the decisions of the four families of missing women who have chosen to pursue civil suits related to the Pickton case, but I am disappointed that the no-doubt unintended consequences of these claims have led Mr. Point to conclude that he must step aside. When matters proceed to court, the litigation process takes precedence over all other related processes."
Point was appointed to chair the advisory committee by Premier Christy Clark following the release of former attorney general Wally Oppal's report on the police mishandling of the missing women investigation.
The former provincial court judge and tribal chair of the Sto:lo First Nation served as B.C.'s 28th lieutenant-governor from 2007 to 2012.