VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – You won’t be hearing from a key witness in the Missing Women Inquiry.

A woman has told the commission she’s still too traumatized to testify after surviving an alleged attack by serial killer Robert Pickton 15 years ago.

Commission lawyer Art Vertlieb says the former sex worker who can only be identified as ‘Ms Anderson’ has always been weary of taking part in the proceedings.

“We respect her wishes,” Vertlieb says.  “So it’s not just come up at the last moment.  That’s not fair to her at all.  We’ve always left it with Ms. Anderson that she would never be forced to come, and we’ve never served her with a subpoena.”

Anderson says she wants to put the past behind her and protect the privacy her husband, her children and herself.  Vertlieb explains she’s since moved on from her previous struggles in life and sought the publication ban on her own to hide her name.

“We don’t want to inflict more hurt on her, she’s had an experience probably none of us could ever fully imagine,” Vertlieb adds.
Lawyer for missing and murdered women, Cameron Ward, argues Anderson’s testimony is crucial but Vertlieb disagrees.  Ward had no comment for reporters after the decision was revealed but did tell Commission Head Wally Oppal that he would ask Anderson’s mother to testify on her behalf.

The inquiry heard Anderson was handcuffed and stabbed by Pickton in 1997 before escaping. Pickton was never prosecuted in that case but was charged with murder five years later.

Ms. Anderson says she was picked up by Robert Pickton in Vancouver in March of that year for $100 and went with him to his farm to have sex. She was attacked but managed to flee the farm and flag down help.  She suffered life-threatening stab wounds but was treated in hospital.

Crown counsel’s Randi Cooper defended her decision to stay attempted murder charges against Pickton in 1998 because Anderson’s drug problem had been getting in the way.

“I did the interview with her and I wasn’t able to have her articulate the evidence,” Cooper testified.  “I thought at this point, that charge approval standard of substantial likelihood of conviction no longer existed.”

“She was in bad shape,” Cooper added.