Supreme Court of Canada decision on Mr. Big

supreme-court-hart  – View the Hart decision by pasting this in your browser. It has taken years for the Court to rule on the validity of evidence garnered through a sting operation. From the decision, it is obvious that the Mr. Big sting is highly problematical and has resulted in the destruction of lives through false confessions. I would also add that the high costs and the all-too-frequent use of the sting points to waste in the justice system and speaks poorly for the general policing methods of the RCMP.

Additionally, AIDWYC, the Association in Defense of the Wrongly Convicted, Canada’s premier innocence project, has called upon Canadian Justice Minister, Peter MacKay to audit one hundred Mr. Big convictions. Al Haslett, one of the RCMP practitioners, claimed that Mr. Big was very carefully staged and not out to get false confessions. Like all police, they want the credit for solving crimes. Nothing wrong with that. But Mr. Big is about macho pride and dressing up and behaving like gangsters which is way cooler than being a hard working police officer who does the painstaking work of criminal analysis.

From an article in the Victoria Times Colonial:

“But Haslett, an RCMP officer for 39 years, defended the operations, saying that the police in every Mr. Big operation are simply seeking the truth.

“We do not set out to obtain confessions. There’s been a number of cases where we have proven that the suspect on the case through this technique is in fact innocent.”

Haslett said the impact of the ruling is that it will put greater restrictions on police.
– See more at:

“Simply seeking the truth.” Not a hint of extortion and illegal antics, no. Beating up women disguised to look pregnant to show the suspect how mean you are. Tough. Macho. Sexist. As to looking for innocence, they stalk their prey for months. They don’t like taking “no” for an answer. Mr. Big gives a bad name to policing.

Nelson Hart, another victim of Mr. Big, was released from prison (9 years) after the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that no other forensic evidence was used to convict him of drowning his two children. The only problem remaining is that the RCMP can still employ this scheme while using so-called safeguards. No safeguards can assure the right to remain silent and can properly assess the pressures used to gain a confession. However, it appears from the decision that other evidence is necessary to convict and that the confessions in and of themselves are inherently inadmissible and unreliable. In addition, the very fact that a person has been induced to participate in a ‘gang’ prejudices a jury against him or her. Great news for Mr. Hart and another blow to Mr. Big. If Rafay and Burns were imprisoned in Canada, they too, based on the Hart decision, would be released.