Robert Pickton blushed and grinned broadly Tuesday as the foreman at the rendering plant where the accused murderer allegedly brought animal remains said he recalled a "dirty guy" who came to the plant with a woman at least twice.
Robert Bayers testified he recalled seeing Mr. Pickton between five and 10 times over the years when he brought barrels of animal remains to dump into giant pits at the rendering plant, located not far from the notorious Downtown Eastside in Vancouver.
One incident stood out in his mind, he told the jury now hearing evidence in the 16th week of Mr. Pickton's first-degree murder trial.
He said he remembered a conversation with the accused and that he offered Mr. Pickton some gloves to unload the barrels from his flatbed truck.
"I remember this guy dumping some old dirty barrels with his bare hands," said Mr. Bayers. "I offered him some gloves. He was such a dirty guy."
Pickton sat in the prisoner's box listening to Mr. Bayers recount their face-to-face meeting with a broad grin and his face appeared flushed.
The witness also recalled that a woman was with Mr. Pickton on two occasions.
The woman was "rough-looking," wore a track suit and had bad acne, said Mr. Bayers. He wasn't sure if it was the same woman both times.
The witness identified Mr. Pickton in the prisoner's box and said he looked different.
"He looks cleaner than when I saw him," said Mr. Bayers.
The trial was adjourned after Mr. Bayers's testimony so the defence and Crown can engage in legal arguments. The trial is likely to resume with the jury Thursday.
Justice James Williams told them he had to deal with a legal issue and make a decision "before the next witness."
"These things happen from time to time," said the judge, adding that the trial so far has had "a remarkably smooth run" and has been "astoundingly successful" in terms of having few interruptions.
The Crown's theory, outlined in its opening statement when the trial began four months ago, is that Mr. Pickton murdered the six women named on the indictment against him and that he butchered their remains and disposed of them at the Vancouver rendering plant.
The Crown's opening statement and a video viewed later by the jury described and then showed Mr. Pickton and an undercover cell plant having a conversation after his arrest in February 2002.
In the video, the jury heard the undercover officer posing as a criminal tell Mr. Pickton that the best way to dispose of a body is to use the ocean.
Mr. Pickton responds that he did better than that and used a rendering plant.
Mr. Pickton is charged with first-degree murder in connection with the deaths of Georgina Papin, Marnie Frey, Brenda Wolfe, Sereena Abotsway, Andrea Joesbury and Mona Wilson.
He is also charged with an additional 20 counts of first-degree murder and those counts are to be tried later.
mr. Bayers told the jury that "basically there was no security" at the plant prior to the mad-cow scare; afterwards, cameras were installed, passes required and a security guard was hired.
Crown prosecutor Jennifer Lopes didn't ask Mr. Bayers for any specific dates, such as when he saw Mr. Pickton at the plant, or when he recalls first and last seeing him.
Mr. Bayers said the four giant pits at the plant could hold thousands of tonnes of material and they would be ground up and cooked quickly.
He said he didn't pay much attention to "small suppliers" like Mr. Pickton.
"He was just another guy dumping stuff in our pit" and a likely load from Mr. Pickton would be five or six, "45-gallon barrels."
Under cross-examination, Mr. Bayers told defence lawyer Adrian Brooks that while small suppliers were supposed to dump their loads beside the pit, the pit operators weren't likely to intervene if they dumped it straight into the pit.
He agreed with Mr. Brooks's suggestion that there wasn't always a "receiver" around to watch what a person was dumping.
He also agreed with Mr. Brooks that the cameras were installed about 1997.
Last week, the rendering plant's superintendent told the jury that lax security prior to 2002 enabled many people to dump their loads of animal remains with little or no checking of the contents.
Merle Morris said it was possible for some people who brought animal entrails to the plant for disposal to essentially drive in and dump their loads.
Another employee of the plant, James Cress, testified last week that he knew "Bob" Pickton and used to pick up barrels of pig remains at the Pickton property.
Mr. Cress said there were sometimes "big chunks of pork" and that some were burned black. He said it was usual to use every piece of meat possible.
Mr. Pickton was arrested in February 2002 in connection with the missing women's task force that was investigating the disappearance over several years of dozens of women, most of them drug-addicted prostitutes from the Downtown Eastside.