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

The City of Revelstoke has launched a community well-being survey. (Contributed)
City launches community well-being survey

Everyone residing in Revelstoke aged 12 and over is invited to complete it

BC Liberal incumbent Doug Clovechok is seeking re-election as MLA for the Columbia River-Revelstoke riding in the provincial election. (File photo)
BC VOTES: Get to know BC Liberal candidate Doug Clovechok

Clovechok talks highways, housing, childcare and the environment

NDP candidate Nicole Cherlet on the campaign trail in Revelstoke. (Liam Harrap- Revelstoke Review)
BC VOTES: Q&A with BC NDP candidate Nicole Cherlet

Cherlet talks highways, housing, childcare and the environment

A health-care worker prepares to swab a man at a walk-in COVID-19 test clinic in Montreal North, Sunday, May 10, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes)
Interior Health records 21 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend

Thirty-six cases remain active; two people are in the hospital, one of whom is in intensive care

Columbia River-Revelstoke Green Party candidate Samson Boyer. (Contributed)
BC VOTES: Q&A with BC Green Party candidate Samson Boyer

Boyer talks highways, housing, childcare and the environment

With local MLA Adam Olsen looking on, BC Greens leader Sonia Furstenau said a Green government would convert BC Ferries into a Crown corporation Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Green leader Sonia Furstenau promises to convert BC Ferries back into Crown corporation

Promise comes Monday afternoon with five days left in campaign

Vernon Fire Rescue Services and Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP were called to a report of an electrical fire at the emergency response centre operated by Turning Points Collaborative Society on 37th Street Sunday, Oct. 18, just before 5:30 p.m. The fire displaced shelter residents who have been set up with services at the Vernon Recreation Complex. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)
Vernon shelter residents find refuge in hotels, motels, recreation complex after fire

Electrical fire at Turning Points Collaborative Society’s emergency response centre on 37th Street

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Kelowna man charged after allegedly stealing senior’s car

Elderly woman’s car was stolen while she was shopping

Salmon Arm RCMP say residents have been receiving calls from fraudster claiming to be with Publishers Clearing House. (File photo)
Salmon Arm RCMP warn of Publishers Clearing House telephone scam

Police say scammer requests fee to claim sweepstakes prizes

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Osoyoos Fire Department responded to reports of a vehicle engulfed in flames Sunday (Oct. 18) evening at a Lambert Court residence. (Osoyoos Fire Department)
Osoyoos Fire Department knock down car fire near home

Blaze was ‘really close’ to becoming a structure fire

Colin James put on a great show at the Comox Valley Exhibition Grounds as part of the 2019 Vancouver Island MusicFest. But his Okanagan tour for 2020 has been postponed until 2021. (Photo by Terry Farrell)
COVID-19 cancels more Okanagan concerts

The Contenders and Colin James postponed until 2021

A passer-by walks past a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada ‘yet to see’ deaths due to recent COVID surge as cases hit 200,000

Much of the increase in case numbers can be attributed to Ontario and Quebec

Most Read