February 22, 2016 3:09 pm
Updated: February 23, 2016 4:11 am

‘There’s no way [Robert Pickton] should be writing a book’: NDP critic

WATCH: Public outcry has prompted online book retailer Amazon to stop selling a book written by serial killer Robert Pickton. As Rumina Daya reports, questions remain about how Pickton was able to publish a book, and whether the B.C. government needs to revise some laws.

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UPDATE (Feb. 22): Outskirts Press says it has ceased publishing Pickton: In His Own Words.

It says it’s also asking Amazon to remove the book from its website.

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“We have a long-standing policy of not working with, nor publishing work by, incarcerated individuals,” the company said in a statement to Global News. “Mr. Pickton was apparently aware of our no-tolerance policy when he devised a plan to publish through an unaffiliated third party, Mr. Chilldres, who claimed to Outskirts Press that he was the sole owner and author of said material.

“Outskirts Press apologizes to the families of the victims for any additional heartache this may have caused.”

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“I couldn’t believe it, absolutely couldn’t believe it,” said BC NDP public safety critic, Mike Farnworth, when he heard that convicted serial killer Robert Pickton had written a book and published it from prison.

“There’s something really wrong in terms of how this came about. How did this happen? I think there needs to be a thorough public investigation into how Pickton was allowed to either write this book and get it out of prison or somebody was allowed in and recorded [it]. But there needs to be investigations into how that happened.”

‘He’s taunting us’: Brother of Pickton victim on convicted killer’s book

The provincial government says they are appealing to Amazon to stop selling the book and a public petition has also been started to ask Amazon to stop selling the book.

“Pickton’s in prison for life for some of the most heinous crimes committed in this country,” said Farnworth. “There’s no way that he should be writing a book about that and certainly not a book that is being published and causing distress to the victims of families and so many people across this country.”

“We have laws around civil forfeiture, so that you would not be able to profit from criminal activity. But there needs to be a law regarding this type of activity.”

WATCH: B.C. NDP Public Safety Critic Mike Farnworth discusses what needs to be done about Robert Pickton’s book and to prevent criminals from profiting.

Former B.C. attorney general Wally Oppal — who led an extensive public inquiry into murdered and missing women in the province, mainly focused on Pickton — expressed dismay at the book’s publication.

“It’s unfortunate that in this province we don’t have a law against a person profiting from his or her crimes, but that’s the way it is,” he said.

In a statement from Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Morris, he said:

It is deeply disturbing to hear that a book about Robert Pickton’s story is being sold.

We are taking this very seriously and investigating every means available to ensure that the families involved are protected from further harm and that Robert Pickton will not profit in any way from this book.

We are appealing to Amazon to stop selling this book.

It is not right that a person who has caused so much harm and hurt so many people could profit from his behaviour.

Our government believes that crime should not pay, so all British Columbians are safe. We are very clear on this.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale also said his office is investigating the Pickton book.

“I’m glad to see that the province has put out a statement recognizing the seriousness of this, but I think we need to go further” said Farnworth. “I think we need to investigate every possible way to bring in a law so that this cannot happen again. Now, whether that’s at the provincial level, or the federal level, the point is it needs to take place. And that’s the next steps that I’d like to see the province take.”

The Correctional Service of Canada said in a statement that it does not permit federal offenders to profit from recounting their crimes.

If it is determined that doing so would be contrary to the objectives of an offender’s correctional plan or if doing so would pose a threat to safety of any individual, including victims, or to the security of a federal institution. Some provincial legislation does exist that limits the ability of individuals convicted of certain offences to profit from recounting their crimes. CSC is not aware of any such legislation in the province of British Columbia.

While offenders incarcerated in federal correctional facilities have limited access to computers, they do not have access to the Internet or to e-mail. They are able to communicate with members of the public in writing and are entitled to privileged correspondence.

Pickton was arrested in 2002, setting off an exhaustive search for human remains on his farm in Port Coquitlam.

Investigators found the remains or DNA of 33 women.

Pickton was eventually convicted of six counts of second-degree murder, and prosecutors then stayed another 20 murder charges because the serial killer had already received the maximum sentence under the law. A 27th murder charge involving a woman referred to only as Jane Doe, whose remains were found on the property, was dropped.

No charges were ever laid in the deaths of six other women, whose remains or DNA were found on the farm.

Last year, a 631-page e-book purportedly written by convicted killer Paul Bernardo was sold on Amazon but it later vanished from the online retailer’s website.

-With files from Jon Azpiri

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