After five years of intensive investigation, the trial of the pig farmer has begun. The press has issued plenty of warnings about the content of the news and put up banners (on TV and in the newspapers) alerting people of the disturbing contents. A lot of people I've spoken to don't want to hear it. But in a way I think it's important to know the truth. More important, we must not forget the victims or their families. Counsellors have been provided at the court for the familes and viewers and in the downtown area for the sex-trade workers who will definitely be affected. Already there has been evidence described that is so horrifying I won't repeat it here. What interests me is the judicial system and how this is going to affect the jurors and families, because the reckon this trial is going to last a whole year! (And this is only the first six of 26 charges!)
MONDAY, Jan 22/07
THE PIG FARMER’S TRIAL BEGINS
The trial of the infamous pig farmer starts today after a five year wait. He's on trial now for murder in the deaths of six of the 60 woman who have gone missing from this area since the late '70's. In addition to these six charges, there are another 20 which will be tried separately. He's been in prison the last five years while the pig farm which he operated along with his brother was scoured, literally no stone left unturned, for evidence. The 30 acre or so farmland was completely dug up and investigated by archaeologists specializing in bone fragments. Hundreds of DNA samples were collected. So far only the 26 have been identified. It may come out in the trial that there are many others.
Piggy and his brother ran a party house at the time called Piggy's Palace. It was frequented by bikers (Hells Angels etc)He frequented the downtown east side trolling for street women who were invited to the farm. At the time the case first broke (after years of the police ignoring how many women were going missing) the first thing they checked were the chippers. Get the drift? Remember the movie "Fargo"? Next were the rumours that they had been filming snuff films there. So you can imagine how horrendous the evidence is going to be. Counsellors have been set up in the courthouse to deal with the aftermath of the gruesome evidence that is going to be presented.
Meanwhile the city has been flooded by media from all around the world as this is going to be the most sensational trial in Canada's history. You can find daily updates and details on
www.cbc.ca or at www.vancouversun.com
Counsellors have also been provided in the downtown area frequented by sex trade workers who might be approached by the media.
These women were mostly addicts and left behind families and children who grieve for them. Unfortunately, some of the family members have been subpoenaed to appear as witnesses and this has created a huge problem for those who have waited all this time for closure because they won't be allowed to attend the court sessions.
On the news just now, hundreds of people outside the courtroom waiting to get in and swarming the family members.
At one time I wanted to be a crime reporter, and when I worked for the Van. Sun after high school, one of the women reporters wanted to train me for her desk job. But the city editor wouldn't hear of an 18 year old preacher's daughter working on the crime reports. Instead I ended up being a news librarian in charge of the crime files. I guess that's why I'm always fascinated (though horrified) by these kinds of stories.
MONDAY, Jan 22
Well they said it would be shocking and it was. And this was just the preliminary hearing of a trial that is expected to take up to a year. There is major TV coverage which includes interviews with the victim's families (two left behind beautiful young daughters). Quite a crowd showed up for the first day.
What was revealed was pretty gruesome: severed heads and body parts found in a freezer; bone fragments and pieces of limbs found in the field; personal belongings of the victims. And yet the guy of course pleads 'not guilty'.
It's almost surreal. like watching parts of a CSI segment or something. But it's real. And it happened right here near our beautiful city.