Robert Pickton case carried hefty price tag

Tue Nov 16, 2010 1:59pm EST
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - Canadian authorities spent more than C$100 million ($98 million) to catch and convict serial killer Robert Pickton, who preyed on Vancouver sex trade workers and disposed of their bodies on his pig farm.

The police investigation, including a more than year-long search of the farm after his arrest in 2002, cost British Columbia about C$70 million, according to a budget document quietly released by the provincial government late on Monday.

The actual cost of the investigation was significantly higher because the province was only responsible for 70 percent of the costs, with the rest paid by the federal government, according to the document.

Additional court costs included more than C$12 million in public funding for Pickton's defense team, and nearly C$2.5 million to assist families of the victims during the years of legal proceedings, the according to the document.

Pickton was convicted of killing six women and is believed connected with the deaths of more than 50 women who disappeared from Vancouver's drug-infested Downtown Eastside neighborhood over a decade before his arrest.

The Supreme Court of Canada upheld the conviction in July.

The provincial government has launched an inquiry into why it took police years to acknowledge a serial killer was preying on the city. Police have apologized for missing clues they say could have led to Pickton's earlier arrest.

(Reporting by Allan Dowd; Editing by Frank McGurty)

($1 = $1.02 Canadian)