POLITICS

Lawyer asks jury to send a message to brother of serial killer Robert Pickton

06/30/2015 02:46 EDT | Updated 06/30/2016 05:59 EDT
VANCOUVER - A woman who was sexually assaulted by the brother of serial killer Robert Pickton deserves compensation for lost job opportunities, mental breakdowns and post-traumatic stress disorder, her lawyer says.

Jason Gratl delivered closing arguments Tuesday in a civil lawsuit his client filed against David Pickton, who was convicted of sexual assault in 1992.

The woman is also suing Pickton for unproven threats of rape and murder.

"Show him right from wrong," Gratl urged the jury. "Show him what he deserves."

"(My client) can never be given back her life, but she can be compensated for her losses. Put her back in the place she would have been if not for David Pickton's sexual assaults and threats."

The eight-member jury will now decide whether to award the woman a financial sum for lost income and psychological trauma related to the 1991 assault.

Pickton's lawyer, Ian Donaldson, said the woman could be awarded a small amount of money for the sexual assault but asked the jury to dismiss the rest of her claim, adding that wouldn't be "doing David Pickton a favour."

The trial has heard the woman was also raped by a stranger at 17 and suffered physical and sexual abuse at age 19 by her husband, who was twice her age.

“(She) has had a difficult life, I accept,” Donaldson said.

“David Pickton, I say on the evidence, is not responsible for her difficulties.”

Pickton was fined $1,000 and sentenced to one year of probation for the sexual assault, which happened on a construction site where he and the woman worked.

She testified that Pickton cornered her inside a trailer, pressed her up against a wall and groped her genitals over her jeans. Moments later, he threatened: "I'm going to rape you."

After the woman filed a police report, a co-worker who was friends with Pickton threatened she would be "cut into pieces" if she didn't leave town, she said.

The Canadian Press does not name victims of sexual assault.

Pickton testified Monday that he didn't know the definition of sexual assault, and didn't believe that slapping a woman's buttocks in the workplace was wrong, Gratl said.

He said the woman, now 55, was a devoted physical labourer but has avoided construction sites since the assault.

Gratl said she was hospitalized in 1999 and 2002 for mental breakdowns. She testified that she vomited when she saw Pickton on TV in 2002, after his brother was linked to a series of murders of women from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.

Robert Pickton was convicted in 2007 of six counts of second-degree murder, but David Pickton has never been accused or charged in those crimes.

Donaldson said there was no evidence to support the woman's allegation that she was threatened by Pickton and his co-worker. He pointed out that Pickton's name was not mentioned in medical records until 2002.

Her lawyer said that's because Robert Pickton had not yet become notorious for his crimes.

— Follow @ellekane on Twitter.