How Much Should The Jury Be Told?

There were so many missing women, most of them drug addicts and prostitutes, in and around Vancouver, B.C. that the police formed a Missing Women Task Force. Eventually their investigation led to the arrest, trial, and conviction of a man who may be Canada’s worst serial killer, Robert Pickton.

Last week, Pickton was convicted of murder in the deaths of six of those women, and may still face trial for the murders of twenty others. But he was convicted only of second-degree murder, implying he didn’t intend to kill his victims. Now the former head of the Missing Women Task Force asserts that the jury likely would have delivered first-degree verdicts if they had been given all of the evidence.

Don Adam praises the jury for the work they did, but claims a year of their lives were wasted and wonders how they’ll feel when they learn the whole truth. At this time, Adam isn’t saying what that whole truth is, perhaps because another trial is pending. But he did say no compelling evidence was found that would have convicted anyone else, Pickton’s brother and two acquaintances, as the defense contended.

Adam hopes to stir public debate about what evidence should be provided a jury, and what should be withheld. Is it possible for a jury to reach a fair and just decision without having all the evidence?