Supreme Court to rule on confessions from Mr. Big police stings

OTTAWA — Canada’s Supreme Court will release a decision Thursday on whether evidence collected using a so-called Mr. Big police sting operation is admissible in court.

A Mr. Big sting is an investigative technique where undercover officers pretend to recruit a suspect to a fictitious criminal organization in order to obtain a confession about prior criminal acts.

The Supreme Court agreed in early 2013 to hear the case of a Newfoundland man sentenced to life in prison.

The Crown asked the justices to overturn an appeal court ruling that ordered a new trial for Nelson Hart, who was found guilty in 2007 of first-degree murder in the drowning deaths of his three-year-old daughters on Aug. 4, 2002 at Gander Lake.

The appeal judges were divided 2-1 on the key question of whether the confession obtained during the sting was the result of improper conduct that violated Hart’s rights.

The Supreme Court generally hears cases of national importance or those that involve split decisions on key legal points.