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Pickton guilty on 6 counts of second-degree murder

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In his clarification, he broadened the requirement to include Mr. Pickton's involvement in the murders as "an active participant." Before the jury retired, the judge had said that jurors must find beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Pickton actually pulled the trigger of the gun or guns that killed them.

His decision to revise that portion of his jury charge was angrily attacked by defence lawyer Adrian Brooks during argument while the jurors were out of the courtroom.

Mr. Brooks told the judge that the trial should end "right now," if he changed his charge to six days into the jury's deliberations.

"What is the jury to think when they have been told what the law is, and all of a sudden it moves and it changes?…To do so is wholly inappropriate."

The veteran defence lawyer gave a strong hint that Judge Williams decision will be among the grounds for a future appeal, saying that the appearance of a fair trial for Mr. Pickton "evaporates in these circumstances.

"It (the judge's revision) is without precedence, and it must certainly not occur here."

In his closing argument, prosecutor Mike Petrie had urged jurors to look at "the constellation of evidence" against Mr. Pickton.

They should not lose sight of the forest among the individual trees of evidence, much of which was forcefully attacked by the accused's top-flight team of lawyers.

Overall, said Mr. Petrie, the facts of the case pointed to one man who murdered the women, cut them up, and disposed of their remains, and that man was Robert Pickton.

It defied belief, he said, that someone else "snuck onto that farm with a bunch of body parts, bones, personal belongings".

The crown painted a grim picture of the accused, calling him someone who killed repeatedly and invisibly for years. Then, when he was finally nabbed, he played coy with the cops, slyly trying to manipulate them into making a deal.

Defence lawyers, however, offered the jury a completely different view of the soft-spoken pig farmer.

They said Mr. Pickton was an individual of "limited intelligence", pointing out that he once failed Grade Two. His mental slowness was taken advantage of by sophisticated police techniques, including numerous lies, leading him to make incriminating statements he did not mean.

They also argued that someone else may have committed the murders, pointing to a number of unsavoury characters who frequented the Pickton farm.

In a powerful closing submission to the jury, lawyer Adrian Brooks argued that the Crown had failed to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.

The jury who heard the exhaustive trial was a diverse group, with five retirees and two young women in their 20's among the 12 members.

Evidence in each of the six individual charges varied. In the case of Marnie Frey, the only link to Mr. Pickton was a piece of her jawbone found on the farm.

Judge Williams, during a lengthy charge to the jurors, advised them repeatedly that they had to be satisfied each charge was proven beyond a reasonable doubt, or they had to acquit on that charge.

The case of the missing women had gradually attained a high profile even before the headline-grabbing arrest of the bachelor farmer.

As the number of women who disappeared in the 1990's began to grow, activists working with prostitutes and concerned family members began raising an alarm.

But police were slow to react, saying early on there was no evidence of a serial killer at work and the Downtown Eastside was an area where the ups and downs of daily life led to comings and goings all the time.

After an investigation began in earnest however, the official list of missing women included more than 60 names.

It is expected that an inquiry into the initial police reaction and investigation in the case will be called once all legal proceedings against Mr. Pickton are finished.

With a report from Canadian Press

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