So-called “Mr. Big” stings have found increasing favour among police investigators for gaining convictions in serious criminal cases.
Such was the case with the murder of Chelsey Acorn, a 14-year-old Abbotsford girl who ran afoul of a truly chilling father and son duo.
Acorn went missing from her foster home on June 10, 2005. Her remains were found the following spring, in a shallow grave near the Coquihalla Highway near Hope.
Taped confessions heard at the trials of Dustin Moir, now 27, and his father, Jesse West, suggested that the two men had strangled her, pushed her naked body into the hole they had dug, and then dropped a large rock on her head.
Possible motives and other details of their heinous crime emerged as they confessed to a police officer posing as a crime boss.
It’s a strategy that has taken down a number of killers and other criminals in recent years.
Critics of the tactic call it unreliable, primarily because some people – as West himself claimed – will tell lies to impress someone they think is a key crime figure, to reap the benefits after they’re accepted into the fold.
Fabricated evidence is a possibility. However, careful investigation will usually sift out the truth, particularly when there is more than one accused telling the tales.
And ultimately, there will be a judge and/or jury to weigh the evidence in the context of arguments by defence and Crown.
It has been suggested that Mr. Big stings should be rejected by the courts.
And if that were so, the killers of an innocent 14-year-old girl would still be on the streets, and possibly taking more victims.
That is an utter absence of justice. That is not an option.
Thanks to good police work, Moir and West got what they deserved – life in prison with no parole for 25 years.