Marie type of interrogation that occurs in an

Marie Dupe was a 46
year old store clerk who was stabbed to death at her store. About 9 years later
the police could finally find evidence that provided information to find the
killer. A discarded cigarette was found at the scene and the police doubted
Gordon Strowbridge who DNA sample matched with the evidence. He had been forced
to give a DNA sample after being convicted of assault in Ontario. Although the
police doubted Strowbridge to have committed the crime there was no evidence
against him. So the police undertook a Mr Big operation. Undercover police men
befriended him and involved him in a series of minor crimes for easy money.
Later he was taken to a hotel where he was told that he would be interviewed
for a higher job with the boss, an undercover police in disguise. With a little
prompting and supervised by a hidden camera, Strowbridge readily admitted to
have committed the murder of the store clerk and pled guilty. Arrested and
charged with murder, Strowbridge ultimately pled guilty to a lesser charge and
was sentenced to life in prison (National DNA Databank, 2004). Though the
technique may seem quite intense, it is an increasingly common method of police
interrogation. Police interrogation is questioning put to an accused by the
police with the purpose of eliciting a statement.

Interrogation of
suspects is one of the most imperative stages of police investigation. The
Canadian police are using a moderately intricate non-custodial police
interrogation technique known as the Mr Big technique. A non-custodial police
interrogation is a type of interrogation that occurs in an environment where
the suspect is not deprived of their freedom of movement or freedom of other
kind.

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This method is used to
provoke the suspects of a crime to confess. The technique is only used in
serious cases due to the high costs involved. It has proven to lead to “75%
confession rate” (Gardner 2004). It is however possible that the suspects of
the crimes may experience pressure and tension and confess to a crime that they
did not commit. There are various motives why suspects admit to crimes they did
not commit. This type of confession where the suspects often denies quickly
after confession is known as coerced confession. People who confess in this
manner know they are not guilty but confess to escape the situation they are in
or to gain some sort of perceived reward. These rewards include promise of jobs
or huge amount of money.  These kinds of
investigation leading suspects to confess crime they did not commit can prove
to be harmful for the person themselves and could have several effects including
trauma in their future. Hence the purpose of this essay is four-fold. The essay
will explore the nature of the Mr Big technique, following which it will
summarize some Canadian legal cases relevant to Mr Big and confessions. The
essay will then discuss scientific evidence relevant to Mr Big technique. The
essay will continue by discussing the nature of PEACE technique and scientific
evidence related to the technique.

The
nature of Mr Big technique

It comprises the use of
an undercover police officer to decoy the suspect into linking with a criminal
organisation. Usually undercover officers pretending as members of a gang
befriend the suspect and induce them into joining the criminal organisation.

The undercover officers
engage the suspects into successions of minor crimes and pay the suspect for
these activities. They also ensure that the suspect believes that they are all
part of a criminal organisation and that they can pay them well enough. Once
the suspect is dedicated to the criminal organisation, he or she is told by the
undercover officers that they are selected for a higher level job that will
provide them several benefits and aids, especially financial aids and job
security. Here the suspect is led to meet Mr Big, the main undercover police
who pretends to be the leader of the criminal organisation.

Nevertheless, before
meeting the organization’s leader (i.e., Mr Big) and becoming a genuine member,
the suspect must agree to have committed a serious crime (the one under
investigation) for one of a few reasons: as a type of “protection”
for the criminal group, so they have something to tell about the suspect in the
event that he ever reports about the organisation to the police. Undercover
officers provoke the confession, which serves as a stated confession and hence
the police could have a solution to the case and suspect is the convict. Mr big
technique is generally reserved for serious cases as the application of the
technique involves high costs. Though the outline of the technique may be the same,
the procedure will vary depending on the case.

Legal
cases related to Mr Big in Canada

The Royal Canadian
Mounted Police (RCMP) has stated that the Mr Big technique has been used
several hundred times prior to 2004. They have also confirmed that it has led
to “75% confession rate and a 95% conviction rate” (Gardner, 2004). Though
there is no information about the number of times it has been after 2004, it is
evident that it is still very much in practice. Two recent Canadian legal cases
will be discussed that will shed light on how Mr Big technique may be
successful in obtaining the confessions from suspects and sometimes may also
lead to false confessions. One of the most important cases solved by the Mr Big
technique is The Bonisteel case. After bonisteel was suspected to have
committed the murder of two 14 year old girls, Judy and Elizabeth, police could
not get an official confession from him. A Mr Big operation was hence
undertaken in which Bonisteel was befriended by undercover police officers who
involved him in series of minor crimes. Later he was taken to meet Buck, the
leader of the organisation before which he has to confess to any crime that he
has committed. Buck eventually told Bonisteel that a background research done
on him reveals that he has been involved in the murder of the two girls and
that police had forensic evidence against him. Bonisteel eventually confessed
to the crime. Another significant case where Mr Big technique has successfully
led to a confession is The Mayer Thorpe RCMP murders. In March of 2005, James
Roszko shot and murdered four police men in the estate that he owned. He later
bore the gun on himself. Though it was believed that Roszko acted alone, the
police men doubted two of his friends Dennis Cheeseman, and Shawn Hennessey to
have helped Roszko. The RCMP used a woman to involve Cheeseman into a criminal
organization. Eventually an undercover Mr Big technique was undertaken. Over 50
RCMP officers were active in this operation which included a trip to British
Columbia to meet Mr Big. Chessman and later Hennessey declared to have assisted
Roszko by giving him a ride and a gun when they came to know about his plan to
kill the police men. They were convicted and given prison punishment for murder
(Canadian Broadcasting Corporation CBC, 2009a).However Mr Big technique has
not always been effective. There are several cases where the use of Mr Big
technique did not lead to revelation from the suspects and the undercover
operation failed. These cases include the Kyle Unger case 1992.Kyle Unger was a
young innocent man from Manitoba who was found guilty of committing sexual
assault and murder in 1992. He even confessed to his crime after an undercover
Mr Big technique was targeted on him. Besieged for a Mr Big operation, Unger
was supported by two undercover police officers who took him out drinking and
made him do all sorts of odd jobs. Once after having him completely drunk they
took him to “Mr Big” who was looking for a person with a good criminal
background. They made him confess to a crime he did not commit. Even though the
details of the crime were not correct, Unger was still convicted and tried at
court. Eventually all charges were dropped against him on the 23rd of October
2009. This clearly portrays how Mr Big technique can sometimes lead to false
confessions.

 

There is also another
case that shows how the police interrogation could lead to false confession.
The Jason Dix case is one example of the cases that led to false confessions
during the interrogation. Jason Dix was a prime convict in the murder of two
men in a factory. The police undertook a Mr Big operation where they lured him
to an organisation to commit small crimes. On one particular day, the undercover
police staged a killing in front of Dix and told him that now he has something
against the organisation and that they must have some evidence against him if
he ever turns on them. They asked him to confess to the killing in the paper
factory. Though Dix maintained his innocence, the police concluded that his
participation in small crimes provides evidence against him and they arrested
him.

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