Possible Robert Pickton memoir removed from Amazon amid outrage, investigation

Possible Robert Pickton memoir removed from Amazon amid outrage, investigation

Amazon removes Robert Pickton book from online store

VANCOUVER — British Columbia is promising a law to prevent offenders profiting from their crimes after a book reportedly written by serial killer Robert Pickton was published, drawing condemnation from the premier and the federal minister of public safety.

By Monday afternoon, the 144-page book titled “Pickton: In His Own Words” was no longer available through the website of online retailer Amazon.

Outskirts Press, which published the book, issued a statement Monday saying it had asked Amazon remove the book from its website.

“We have a long-standing policy of not working with, nor publishing work by, incarcerated individuals,” the statement said.

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

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale told the House of Commons that the Correctional Service of Canada is investigating how the manuscript got out.

“We will be examining all those who have assisted in any way in this odious enterprise,” he said during question period.

Citing privacy laws, the Correctional Service of Canada said it cannot provide details on an offender’s file, but “it has been made aware of the book that has been published and understands the content may be offensive to some.”

It said in a statement that federal offenders aren’t allowed to profit from recounting their crimes if it is contrary to the goals of an offender’s correctional plan or poses a threat to someone’s safety, including victims, or to the security of a federal institution.

People serving sentences in federal correctional facilities have limited access to computers, but do not have access to the Internet or to email. The service said prisoners are able to communicate with members of the public in writing and are entitled to privileged correspondence.

The Pickton book raised questions about whether there is a need for legislation preventing offenders from profiting from their crimes, something that B.C. Premier Christy Clark promised.

“I am at a loss for words. To think about the pain that he’s prepared to willingly cause all of the families of those people who he murdered,” Clark told reporters in Vancouver.

“I have trouble understanding it and I think people will want to know that their government is doing everything it can to want to stop him from profiting from this at the very least.”

Solicitor General Mike Morris asked Amazon to stop carrying the book, saying he thinks it’s “despicable” that someone could profit from their crimes.

“There’s no way as long as I’m (solicitor general) that anybody’s going to make a nickel off of Robert Pickton’s file,” he said.

There is no confirmation that Pickton actually wrote the book, but a statement from Morris said the province is investigating every means possible to ensure the 66-year-old from Port Coquitlam will not profit in any way.

Pickton is serving a life sentence for the second-degree murders of six women and is being held at Kent maximum security prison near Agassiz, B.C., about 120 kilometres east of Vancouver.

Amazon did not respond to requests for comment.

This isn’t the first time Amazon has come under fire for selling works by notorious Canadian criminals. Last year the company was pressured to pull killer Paul Bernardo’s fictional ebook about the Russian Mafia and al-Qaida.

Criminal lawyer Ari Goldkind said people who have been convicted of a crime have the same right to express themselves as other Canadians.

“They are as entitled to freedom of expression, freedom of creativity to publish a book,” Goldkind said. “They’re as free to write as you and me.”

However, four provinces, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Nova Scotia, have laws governing whether an offender can profit from their crimes, such as through book revenues.

“If there’s profit off the recounting of your crimes, it’s a no go,” Goldkind said.

The Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Rachna Singh, MLA for Surrey-Green Timbers, is the Parliamentary Secretary for Anti-Racism Initiatives. (Photo courtesy of flickr.com/photos/bcgovphotos)
Oak Bay local Lachlan Kratz (red, middle) has signed with pro rugby team NOLO Gold in Louisiana. (Contributed photo)
Oak Bay local signs with pro rugby team

Lachlan Kratz at 21 is now NOLO Gold’s youngest member

A micro brewery is being eyed for Jordan River. However, the site where the brewery is proposed still needs to go through the rezoning process. (Black Press Media file)
Micro brewery proposed for Jordan River

Jordan River Brewing Company envisions to build wholesale, sit-in brewery along Highway 14

Traffic waits at the intersection of Highway 17 and Beacon Avenue. A study found failing levels of service at the intersection of Highway 17 and Sidney’s Beacon Avenue for multiple movements during morning peak traffic and for all left-moving traffic during afternoon peak traffic. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Province supports potential interim improvements to Sidney intersection

Province says interchange is the long-term plan for intersection of Beacon Avenue and Highway 17

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Russ Ball (left) and some of the team show off the specimen after they were able to remove it Friday. Photo supplied
Courtenay fossil hunter finds ancient turtle on local river

The specimen will now make its home at the Royal BC Museum

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

B.C. homeowners are being urged to take steps to prepare for the possibility of a flood by moving equipment and other assets to higher ground. (J.R. Rardon)
‘Entire province faces risk’: B.C. citizens urged to prepare for above-average spring flooding

Larger-than-normal melting snowpack poses a threat to the province as warmer weather touches down

Vancouver-based Doubleview Gold Corp. is developing claims in an area north of Telegraph Creek that occupies an important place in Tahltan oral histories, said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO)
B.C. Indigenous nation opposes mineral exploration in culturally sensitive area

There’s “no way” the Tahltan would ever support a mine there, says Chad Norman Day, president of its central government

Stz’uminus Elder George Harris, Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone, and Stz’uminus Chief Roxanne Harris opened the ceremony. (Cole Schisler photo)
Symbolic red dresses rehung along B.C. highway after vandals tore them down

Leaders from Stz’uminus First Nation and the Town of Ladysmith hung new dresses on Sat. April 17

A Western toadlet crosses the centre line of Elk View Road in Chilliwack on Aug. 26, 2010. A tunnel underneath the road has since been installed to help them migrate cross the road. Saturday, April 24 is Save the Frogs Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress File)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 18 to 24

Save the Frogs Day, Love Your Thighs Day and Scream Day are all coming up this week

The Attorney General’s Ministry says certain disputes may now be resolved through either a tribunal or the court system, pending its appeal of a B.C. Supreme Court decision that reduced the tribunal’s jurisdiction. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Court of Appeal grants partial stay in ruling on B.C. auto injuries

B.C. trial lawyers challenged legislation brought in to cap minor injury awards and move smaller court disputes to the Civil Resolution Tribunal

A vial of some of the first 500,000 AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada secured. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio
Canada’s 2nd blood clot confirmed in Alberta after AstraZeneca vaccine

The male patient, who is in his 60s, is said to be recovering

Most Read