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

Just Posted

Pet-A-Palooza a good reason to ‘pawse’ this weekend in Victoria

Puppies, goats, wiener dog races and more on the grounds of St. Ann’s Academy Aug. 18-19

UVic art display showcases craft of bookmaking

Art of the Book 2018 is in the Audain Gallery at UVic from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. starting Aug. 11

Celebrate local food with Feast of Fields in North Saanich

21st Feast of Fields on Vancouver Island is at Kildara Farms on Aug. 26 from 1 to 4 p.m.

RIFFLANDIA: Local artists thrive under festival model

Bands like Current Swell, one of the 2018 headliners, made their mark at RAP

Baseball’s HarbourCats wind up WCL season with loss to Pickles

Victoria needed a win to make the league playoffs, now looks ahead to 2019

‘Queen of Soul’ Aretha Franklin has died

Publicist Gwendolyn Quinn reports Franklin passed Thursday at 9:50 a.m. at her home in Detroit

REVIEW: Ever wanted to be young again? Theatre Skam’s Concord Floral will make you think again

Strong acting in an interesting theatre space, writes Sheila Martindale

Brad Pitt says he has given Jolie Pitt millions since split

Actor Brad Pitt denies Angelina Jolie Pitt’s claim that he has paid no meaningful child support.

WINE LOVERS UNITE: Victoria festival offers numerous tasting options

Parkside Hotel and Spa hosting Victoria International Wine Festival

Farquhar Auditorium updates image for 40th season

The Farquhar at UVic ushers in new season Sept. 22

THEATRE SKAM: Young cast brings Concord Floral to life in vacant downtown retail space

Former office supply store a unique venue for telling mysterious tale of youth with secrets

Schedule released for world junior hockey championship in B.C.

Vancouver and Victoria ready to host, as Canada conducts training camp in Kamloops

Five things to do this B.C. Day long weekend

Check out these great community events in Greater Victoria

5 things to do in Greater Victoria this weekend

Check out dragon Boats, artists, football and more

Most Read