Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Veil lifted on stings after media battle

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IN 2001, the Free Press and the Brandon Sun led the legal charge to lift the veil of secrecy on Mr. Big police stings. In a bid to publish details of the secret undercover operation the RCMP used in the investigation of the 1996 murder of 14-year-old Amanda Cook, the newspapers had to fight all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada.

When the highest court in the country sided with the Free Press and Sun, not only was the public finally able to read about the sting that led to the arrest of George Mentuck, who was eventually acquitted after his confession was found to be unreliable, but an important legal precedent was set.

The debate over banning the stings was recently renewed surrounding the case of Kyle Unger, who was the subject of Manitoba's first Mr. Big sting. Unger spent 14 years in prison for a murder justice officials now say he didn't commit. He was acquitted in 2009 after his original conviction was quashed, leading to a federal review of his case. Unger has always claimed he lied about his involvement as a means of trying to make more money.

Brigitte Grenier, 16, was killed during an outdoor rock concert near Roseisle in June 1990.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 3, 2011 A3

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