British Columbia

Oppal to head Pickton inquiry

Former B.C. attorney general Wally Oppal will head the inquiry into the Robert Pickton police investigation, CBC News has learned.

Former B.C. attorney general also served on province's two highest courts

Former B.C. Attorney General Wally Oppal has been a judge in the province's two highest courts. ((CBC))
Former B.C. attorney general Wally Oppal will head the inquiry into the Robert Pickton police investigation, CBC News has learned.

The formal announcement of the inquiry commissioner and the inquiry's terms of reference are scheduled to be made public in Vancouver on Tuesday by B.C. Attorney General Mike de Jong.

Oppal, 70, was provincial attorney general from 2005 until 2009.

He was defeated in a provincial general election in May 2009.

Oppal also has been a judge on the B.C. Court of Appeal and the B.C. Supreme Court.

The B.C. government announced the inquiry earlier this month after Pickton lost an appeal against his six murder convictions and the Crown stayed 20 other murder charges.

The inquiry is expected to look at how dozens of women disappeared from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside over several years and how Pickton was able to prey on them despite warnings that a serial killer was on the loose and he might be a suspect.

This aerial view of Robert Pickton's farm in Port Coquitlam, B.C., was taken by police during their investigation in 2002. ((Canadian Press))
When de Jong announced the inquiry on Sept. 9, he said there are lingering questions about the investigations by the Vancouver police and RCMP, and he hoped something could be learned from any mistakes that were made.

A Vancouver police report on the Pickton investigation cited a series of problems, including a failure to share information, a lack of leadership, scarce resources and a bias against sex workers among some Vancouver police staff.

With files from thr CBC's Stephen Smart and The Canadian Press

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