Times Colonist from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada on September 9, 1997 · 6
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Times Colonist from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada · 6

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Location:
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Issue Date:
Tuesday, September 9, 1997
Page:
6
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fti Times Colonist Tuesday September 9 1997 BRITISH COLUMBIA TANYA SMITH MURDER LAWSUIT Crown cites key admissions MacPhail sharpens B.C. tobacco axe By Greg Joyce The Canadian Press NEW WESTMINSTER The man accused of murdering a Fraser Valley teenager has admitted his semen was inside the victim's body and that he made taunting phone calls to police after the murder, the Crown said Monday. The startling admission of facts came as lawyer Neil MacKenzie opened the Crown's case against Terry Driver. Driver pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of Tanya Smith and to attempted murder in the beating of her friend Misty Cockerill. Driver, 32, is charged in an October 1995 attack on the two Fraser Valley girls that initially shocked the public. A wave of fear swept across the community of 105,000 after police received a series of taunting phone calls in which the caller said he couldn't be caught and might strike again. Smith and Cockerill. both 16 at the time, were walking along an Abbotsfbrd street about 2 a.m. on Oct. 14, 1995, when they were attacked by a man wielding a baseball bat. Smith's naked body was found about six hours later in the Vedder River about 15 kilometres from the scene of the attack. She had been sexually assaulted and died by drowning. Cockerill regained consciousness in hospital and described the killer to police. After she recovered, Cockerill went into hiding in Saanich. Driver was arrested in May 1996, seven months after the attacks. As several members of the Driver and Smith families listened intently, MacKenzie told Justice Wally Oppal that the Crown w ill show that semen taken from Smith's body was the accused's. "It will also be admitted that Terry Driver made the calls and defaced the headstone," said MacKenzie. The Crown also said Cockerill, who recovered from her injuries and will testify later this week, "will identify the accused, Terry Driver, as the man wno . taa. attacked her Terry Driver: 1 995 file and Tanya shot Smith." The Crown said that Cockerill will tell the court that she and Misty, while walking on an Abbotsford street, were accosted by a man who came out of some bushes wielding a baseball bat. "Do you bitches want to party," the Crown said Cockerill will testify. The Crown said the teenagers were ordered to take their clothes off; Smith began to comply while Cockerill feigned an asthma attack. Cockerill managed to get the bat from the man and started hitting him, MacKenzie said. But the bat was wrestled away :anadian press from her and she was struck. When she regained consciousness. Smith was gone. Four days after the attack, police began to receive the taunting phone calls. The Crown told the court the caller said he knew the location of the murder and concluded by saying, '"I'm the killer. Her right nipple tasted pretty good.'" Subsequent calls poked fun at the police's inability to find the killer and made more references to the bite on Smith's right nipple that the Crown said was included in the autopsy report. In February, several months after the murder, Smith's defaced headstone was thrown onto the hood of a radio station's car in Abbotsford. An arrow had been drawn in the direction of Smith's right breast, the Crown said. Also in that month, a package contained more taunting messages was thrown through the window of an Abbotsford resident, which the Crown said the accused admitted preparing. The message contained more taunts, another reference to Smith's nipple and also said: " 'Hey guys, I'm bad and won't be caught,' " MacKenzie said. Driver had initially elected to be tried by judge and jury on the first-degree murder charge. But the father of two children and son of a retired Vancouver police sergeant recently re-elected to be tried by Justice Wally Oppal without a jury. The Crown said it would call 68 witnesses and submit more than 80 exhibits in a trial expected to take about four weeks. By Jeff Bell Times Colonist staff Tobacco companies proposing to settle damage lawsuits in the United States for a total of $368 billion will have to be forced to negotiate similar settlements in Canada. B.C. Health Minister Joy MacPhail said Monday. MacPhail. speaking from Washington, D.C., where she is meeting with public-health officials and politicians, said it won't be easy to bring the "big money" tobacco companies to the table to discuss the harm that tobacco products can cause. "It's clear that the tobacco companies in Canada are not going to do anything without us holding a gun to their heads." MacPhail, whose stopover in the U.S. capital precedes a Sept. 1 0- i 2 meeting of Canada's health ministers in Fredericton, said she is hoping to gather firm support from her colleagues. B.C. is going it alone among Canadi an provinces so far, she said. The B.C. legislature unanimously passed the Tobacco Damages Recovery Act in July. The province is expected to have a legal team in place next month to go after the tobacco companies. "Right now we are the only jurisdiction outside the United States taking the tobacco companies on," MacPhail said. She said some of the negotiators of the U.S. tobacco settlements "want to help us gain from their successes." Other topics in Fredericton will be the future management of Canada's blood supply and a federal report on the nation's drug-patent law. The Health Ministry puts the cost of dealing with smoking-related illness in B.C. at $500 million a year. An estimated 5.000 British Columbians die each year from illnesses related to smoking. SUMMERLAND (CP) ACanada-wide arrest has been issued for an alleged parole violator in the double shooting of the man's estranged wife and mother-in-law. The bodies of Tammy Grono, 27, and her mother Cecilia Grono, 64, were discovered by police Sunday afternoon at their ' " .H B Man sought in double killing home on a motel property in this small Okanagan community, about 280 kilometres east of Vancouver. Tammy's two-year-old daughter and four-year-old son, were present during the shooting. RCMP have issued a warrant for Tammy Grono's estranged husband, Kevin William Machell, 38. RESIDENTIAL CARE Child abuse victims' package abandoned, says paper VANCOUVER (CP) The B.C. government tried to develop a humane process for compensating people abused as children in residential care but backed off because of the high cost involved, the Vancouver Sun says. Citing government documents obtained under access-to-information requests, the Sun reports the government wanted to avoid searing court battles with abuse victims but ultimately failed to come up with a new policy. Documents obtained by the Sun show the question of compensating childhood victims of sexual abuse has been discussed by government at least since 1990. The heavily censored documents suggest the discussions mostly centred on the potentially high cost of admitting responsibility. The cost of such a program could rise to more than $1 billion a year, according to a 1992 background paper from the Ministry of Women's Equality. Representatives from several ministries formed B committee to study ways of providing compensation for people without dragging them through courts. "The emotional disabilities which often occur as a result of childhood abuse frequently cause victims to hav e difficulty in coping with many life situations in latter years." says one background paper. I he government's discussions culminated in two minor programs: J A compensation package to about 50 people abused at the Jericho Hill school for blind and deaf students in Vancouver, with payments ranging from $3.(XM) to S60.(XX); J The Residential Historical Abuse Program, which provides free counselling lor people abused as children while in care of provincial government facilities or foster parents. It does not include aboriginals abused in residential schools, considered ,i federal responsibility. No further programs were put in place, while pro inces such .is ( hitario and Newfoundland have dcveloK'd compensation programs to assist people proven to have x'en victimized while in government care. I ibcral justice ci itic ( ieoll Plan! said it's time loi the government to start compensating the people who were victimized as children. Attorney ( ieneral I Ijjal Dosanjh could not be reached I'm comment, but has said in the p.isi he can'l i.ilk aboul cases an lentK bcloic ihe courts. "SW1MWI' K FOR l A'i.RV BODY" MAVIAIRSIIOI'I'IM, CENTRK 1K2 US'

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