BC aims to stop profits from crime in wake of Pickton book
Murderers and others convicted of serious crimes will not be able to profit from their crimes through memoirs or memorabilia and inflict further anguish on their victims and families, under proposed legislation introduced today.
If passed, the Profits of Criminal Notoriety Act will target those who attempt to benefit from the sale of their stories in any written or broadcast form, or from memorabilia related to their crimes. Any money would instead be required to be paid to the Province for redistribution to victims or their families, with any surplus amounts used to support victim services.
The proposed legislation will:
Require that parties that enter into a verbal or written contract for recounting of a notorious crime notify government about its terms.
Prohibit a person from providing or accepting money or other consideration under such contracts for recounting of a notorious crime.
Allow government to apply to court to take profits from sale of crime-related memorabilia.
Prevent offenders from assigning rights to another person, like a spouse, friend or relative.
The act will apply to criminals convicted of serious or violent crimes, such as murder, sexual offences, child exploitation, and kidnapping, drug trafficking or trafficking in persons. It’s also designed to be retrospective, applying to contracts signed since Jan. 1, 2001. For constitutional reasons, the act cannot ban a criminal from telling his or her stories – only from receiving a financial gain as a result.
The new legislation follows public outrage and swift action earlier this year in the wake of news that B.C. serial killer Robert Pickton had published a book under a pseudonym and it was selling online. Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Nova Scotia have similar legislation.
“The day I first learned of the Pickton book, I was determined no one would make a nickel from Robert Pickton’s crimes,” said Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Morris, who introducted the bill. “This legislation is a swift, thorough response to that book. We have derailed any plans to profit from it. The act will also help ensure no other notorious or violent criminals can profit from the hurt they have caused.”