Advocates call for systemic review of convictions obtained in ‘Mr. Big’ stings

Advocates for the wrongly convicted people are urging the federal government to set up a systemic review of convictions secured through the use of the so-called Mr. Big police sting operations.

TORONTO — Advocates for the wrongly convicted people are urging the federal government to set up a systemic review of convictions secured through the use of the so-called Mr. Big police sting operations.

The call from the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted comes just weeks after the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that confessions obtained through the investigative technique must be presumed inadmissible in court.

The technique involves undercover police officers who recruit a suspect to a fictitious criminal organization while posing as gangsters in order to extract a confession to a crime.

The association says that from the early 1990s to the late 2000s, more than 350 Mr. Big investigations have been conducted across Canada, resulting in hundreds of convictions.

The group’s founder, James Lockyer, estimates the number of cases that need a thorough review at less than 100.

He says many of those cases are no longer in the judicial system.