Jurors asked to stop deliberating yesterday, then told to resume
Following a short hiatus, jurors in the Robert Pickton murder trial returned to deliberations yesterday afternoon after Justice James Williams admitted he was not sufficiently precise in his charge to the jury.
Williams suspended jury deliberations for about two hours yesterday afternoon after he was asked by the jury to clarify a point.
When he reconvened, the judge told the seven-woman, five-man jury he was "not sufficiently precise" with respect to three paragraphs of his charge and provided them with amendments.
"I regret that I misinformed you," Williams said. "It was inadvertent. However, it is important that you be instructed as properly as I’m able … you’re free to continue your deliberations."
Williams’ amendments affect the charges in the deaths of Sereena Abotsway, Mona Wilson and Andrea Joesbury.
In the case of Abotsway, Williams’ new charge read:
"If you find that Mr. Pickton shot Ms. Abotsway or was otherwise an active participant in her killing you should find that the Crown has proven this element.
"On the other hand, if you have a reasonable doubt about whether or not he was an active participant in her killing you must return a verdict of not guilty."
Pickton is also on trial for the deaths of Brenda Wolfe, Marnie Frey and Georgina Papin. Yesterday was the seventh day of deliberating for jurors who are charged with deciding whether Pickton is guilty in the murder of the six women who disappeared from the Downtown Eastside.
Pickton, a former pig farmer from Port Coquitlam, is also charged in the murder of 20 other women. He will likely face those charges at a later date.