Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Pickton Trial Part 1: The Commitment

Back in January of this year a trial began with opening remarks from lawyers for the Crown outlining the case against Robert Pickton. He was charged with the murders of 26 women. This case against him would involve 6 of those 26 in what would become a history making trial of Canada's worst serial murders.

Needless to say this trial would attract a lot of media attention.

To accommodate the needs of the TV medium, a tent city, Camp Pickton, was assembled on the courtyard. Each media tent had been serviced with electrics and wired for live broadcasts. This would become my home for the first weeks of the trial. But as the proceedings wore into the summer months and interest for the daily minutia of expert testimony wained, it was decided to pack up the camp for the summer. The Camp would only reappear for the final stages of the trial.

Those final stages began four long weeks ago.

Dave, my Tech Supervisor had asked me to commit to finishing the trial for our organization. Most of my colleagues avoided the courtyard of New Westminster, like the plague. Our station had two reporters, Lisa Rossington and Janet Dirks, who had followed this story since Police first raided Pickton's farm some 6 years ago, had made the commitment. I felt that I should step up and finish this trial. By doing so, I knew it would likely cost me flight weeks, but it was something I felt was important to experience. The decision was actually quite an easy one to make.

Camp Pickton, Begbie Square New Westminster BC.

My role was to arrange, manage and shoot from our broadcast positions on the courtyard called Begbie Square. CTV would have two tent positions, side by side. One for National and News Net requirements, the other for Local CTV positions. I have always enjoyed the challenge of setting up shop at a location that is not exactly TV friendly. The kick for me is making it functional and making it work. Dave assigned me to the National tent or I liked to refer to it: The CTV Broadcast Center. I would also shoot ENG when required.

A look inside the "CTV Broadcast Center"

It had all the makings for an epic TV adventure. It would have it's moments, good and bad. To paraphrase a line for one of my favorite movies- "All I wanted was a mission, and for my sins they gave me one, and when it was over, I damn sure didn't want another."

But I had made the Commitment, and it was one I would be tested to keep.

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