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Mr. Big: Exposing Undercover Investigations in Canada [Paperback]

Kouri T. Keenan , Joan Brockman
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Book Description

Feb. 1 2011 1552663760 978-1552663769

After surveying more than 80 cases in which a confession was accepted as evidence in a "Mr. Big" organized crime sting, these legal experts suggest changes in undercover police practices in Canada. "Mr. Big" in these cases is a policeman posing as a criminal kingpin in order to coerce a confession from a suspect, but this study finds that this ruse is most successful when the suspect is from a marginalized group. In addition, police officers sometimes commit criminal offences while undercover—or they fake criminal behavior during the course of the sting—and the pretend 'interrogations' are not bounded by normal interview standards. On these grounds, the authors propose that this practice be drastically curtailed.

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About the Author

Kouri Keenan is a PhD student in the school of criminology at Simon Fraser University. Joan Brockman is a professor in the school of criminology at Simon Fraser University. She is the author of Gender in the Legal Profession: Fitting or Breaking the Mould and the coauthor of An Introduction to Canadian Criminal Procedure and Evidence. They both live in Vancouver, British Columbia.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mr Big and the Canadian Obsession for Confessions Feb. 15 2011
By Mr Glum
MR. BIG is a secret undercover investigative technique where police pose as organized crime figures working for a very powerful boss. Chapter 1 introduces us to the origins of Mr. Big, the script, the secrecy and the prevalence of this practice.

Chapter 2 looks at false confessions and wrongful convictions. Showing evidence that false confessions occur frequently (page 48). Chapter 3 examines "Contacting and Grooming the Target to Elicit Confessions". Included in this chapter is money as a grooming tool.

Chapter 4 raises legal, moral and ethical issues. And chapter 5 talks about "Reining in Mr. Big" the authors conclude that Mr. Big "is a tool that should be curtailed or discontinued" (page 115). Here is the interesting part : there are three pages of cases where Mr. Big has been used (Appendix pages 119 to 121). That is some 84 cases.

The Library of Congress classification for this book is: HV 8080 .U5 K45 2010

Addendum of July 31, 2014. The Supreme Court of Canada has now outlined how Mr. Big confessions are to be dealt with in R. v. Hart, 2014 SCC 52.
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