Media called on carpet over Pickton coverage


TORONTO -- The government of British Columbia has criticized international media outlets for breaking a pre-trial media ban before Monday's start of the trial of Robert Pickton, accused of being Canada's worst serial killer.

B.C. Attorney General Wally Oppal said that international media, including Fox News and the Times of London, had breached a publication ban by printing or airing details about Pickton over the weekend before the trial jury has begun hearing evidence.

"Obviously, it would be of concern to us if the information put on the Internet is in violation of the court order," Oppal told the Globe and Mail newspaper Monday.

About 350 media already have been accredited for Pickton's Vancouver trial, where he will be tried for the murder of six women on the city's notorious downtown eastside.

The Canadian case is the subject of a 2005 low-budget crime thriller by Australian director Ulli Lommel, "Killer Pickton," which stars Curtis Graan and Jillian Swanson. The film's producers last September decided to delay the theatrical release until after the trial concludes.

U.S. media set to cover the Pickton trial include Court TV, the Washington Post, the New York Times and a range of Internet-based news services.

The B.C. Attorney General's office in November unveiled a media ban that bars anyone from publishing or airing information that could preclude a fair trial for Pickton, or identify undercover police officers involved into the original investigation.

The media was originally banned from releasing details of Pickton's preliminary hearing, which lasted just over six months.