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Mr.Big's Innocent Victims

The same RCMP undercover scenario has successfully snared innocent Canadians over and over again.

In 1998, Manitoba-based undercover officers launched a “Mr.Big” investigation directed at Clayton George Mentuck, a man suspected of killing a 14-year-old girl. They got a vague confession out of him and threw him in jail, but two years later he was acquitted.

Before this case the Canadian public had never heard about the tactics used by our national police. But the Winnipeg Free Press fought all the way to the Supreme Court for the right to report the details of the RCMP investigation that led Mentuck to falsely confess to murder.

Ultimately the lawsuit filed by the Free Press had broader implications than just one case. It was the turning point for journalists to start writing and talking about an undercover operation in which the police pretend to be criminals to coerce confessions. It is an operation that targets dozens of suspects each year, but the RCMP have been extremely secretive about the numbers surrounding “Mr.Big”: how much does it cost the taxpayer, exactly how many stings are done each year, what is their success rate and how is that success rate defined?

Another Manitoba man convicted of murder thanks to a “Mr.Big sting” is currently free on bail after 14 years in jail, thanks to a DNA review. Kyle Unger maintains his 1991 murder confession is false. He is in legal limbo while the Federal Justice Department reviews the case.