March 28, 2011 – Study Commission added to Missing Women Inquiry

VANCOUVER – The B.C. government has amended the terms of reference for the missing women commission of inquiry to add a study commission, Attorney General Barry Penner announced today.

Commissioner Wally Oppal had requested the terms of reference be revised to make the inquiry a joint study and hearing commission.

Study commissions may conduct research and consult with participants or the public by receiving oral and written submissions. Legal standing is not necessary, making study commissions a cost-effective way to obtain research data and submissions.

Hearing commissions investigate and make findings of fact in matters where there is the possibility of a finding of misconduct.

The hearing commission, announced Sept. 28, 2010, will continue to be dedicated to the police investigations conducted between Jan. 23, 1997 and Feb. 5, 2002 into women reported missing from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. It will also review the January 1998 decision by the Ministry of Attorney General’s criminal justice branch to stay charges against Robert W. Pickton for the assault of a Downtown Eastside sex trade worker. Formal hearings, open to the public, will be held in Vancouver. The hearing commission is currently reviewing applications from groups seeking legal standing to appear.

Oppal’s report is scheduled to be submitted to the attorney general by or before Dec. 31. Public inquiry reports are tabled before the legislative assembly, following a review related to the applicable sections of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

Quote:

Attorney General Barry Penner –

“The study commission will provide more information for the commission, while ensuring the police investigations regarding Robert Pickton are fully examined to determine if proper procedures were followed, and whether improvements can and should be made in any future investigations of missing women and suspected multiple homicides.”

Contact:

Dave Townsend

Senior Public Affairs Officer

Ministry of Attorney General

250 387-4962

250 889-5945 (cell)

Connect with the Province of B.C. at: www.gov.bc.ca/connect