The second trial for convicted killer Robert William Pickton may not proceed, the families of two victims have officially been informed.
The families told CBC News on Monday that they were contacted by the Crown prosecutor through B.C.'s Victim Services program and told the trial on 20 charges of first-degree murder may be cancelled if appeals launched against Pickton's convictions on six second-degree murder charges do not succeed.
One of the family members said they were told not to make the information public.
Stan Lowe, a spokesman for the Crown's office, confirmed that the families had been called, but would not say why.
"We're currently in the process of contacting family members to provide them with an update on this prosecution. Now, we consider communications with family members to be private," he said.
Pickton, a Port Coquitlam pig farmer, was charged with first-degree murder in the deaths 26 women who went missing from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.
Pickton stood trial in connection with the slaying of six of the 26 women and was convicted in December of second-degree murder on all six counts after an 11-month trial.
He was supposed to be tried on the 20 remaining counts at a later date.
In the first trial, Pickton was sentenced to life in prison with 25 years before a possibility of parole.
He was found guilty of killing Sereena Abotsway, Mona Wilson, Andrea Joesbury, Marnie Frey, Georgina Papin and Brenda Wolfe.
On Monday, B.C. Attorney General Wally Oppal said he can't say much about what is happening.
But Oppal said there will be an application before the courts on March 6.
Family members contacted by CBC said this new development is yet another indication that justice isn't being done.
"The girls were beaten down on the streets. And they were beaten down when the police looked the other way when this was happening and now they're being beaten down in the court system,'' said Lori Ellis, the sister-in-law of Carol Ellis, one of the dead women.
"And that's garbage," she added.
Lilliane Beaudoin said she feared that this would happen when it was decided that Pickton would face two trials.
"We anticipated back then that they would not go on with a second trial if he was convicted on the first."
Beaudoin is the sister of Diane Rock, a Welland, Ont., woman who is alleged to be among Pickton's victims.
Beaudoin said her husband was home when he got a call from Victim Services and told to keep the news to themselves.
"What it comes down to is dollars and cents,'' said Ellis. She was referring to estimates that a second trial could cost as much as $100 million.
Put the bast*rd on trial and then hang'em high.