VICTORIA — The mammoth investigation and mega multiple trials that ultimately convicted serial killer Robert Pickton cost the British Columbia government more than $102 million.
B.C.’s Ministry of Attorney General quietly released the final tally Monday on its website, including all provincial expenditures for the matter from April 2001.
The largest total cost was the RCMP investigation itself, running nearly $70 million for the province and covering 70 per cent of the total policing bill.
Defence lawyers were paid just under $12 million, while prosecution totalled just over $9 million.
The province also covered $1.8 million in high-security upgrades to the New Westminster courthouse and changes to the prison where Pickton was incarcerated, though that’s not included in the overall sum.
The Port Coquitlam, B.C., pig farmer’s second-degree murder convictions for the deaths of six women were upheld by Canada’s highest court in July.
Pickton was arrested Feb. 2, 2002 and eventually charged with murdering 26 women, but his case proceeded only on the first six with plans for further prosecution to follow.
After a trial that lasted a year, then-attorney general Wally Oppal said there was little to be gained by trying the man on the remaining 20.
The controversial decision wasn’t supported by all the victims’ families, but Oppal said that Pickton was already serving the maximum sentence under Canadian law.
Jailing Pickton has so far cost $737,000, while victim support services cost the province $2.4 million. Another $6.6 million covered trial support and security operations by the courts.
While the DNA of 33 women were found on his farm, the man had boasted he actually killed 49 women.
Oppal is now tasked with heading a public inquiry into the disappearance of women from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, the rough neighbourhood from where Pickton lured his victims.
The inquiry, which has until Dec. 31, 2011 to submit a final report, will look into how and why so many women were allowed to be murdered before the serial killer was arrested.
The B.C. government will also pay the inquiry’s bill.