The Supreme Court of Canada has overturned the conviction of 73-year-old who confessed (three times!) to sexually abusing three children.
In a stinging indictment of the police that investigated the crimes, the Court unanimously ruled that police “knowingly and deliberately” used information that had been illegally obtained in order to obtain the confessions.
The Globe and Mail has reported that police in Kamloops interrogated Dieter Helmut Wittwer three times. Each time he confessed to sexually assaulting 3 girls between the ages of five and six years old.
But the first time police had failed to advise Wittwer of his right to counsel. The second time they interrogated him, police advised Wittwer of his right to counsel, but failed to give him the opportunity to call a lawyer.
After being told by a Crown prosecutor that the first two confessions were probably inadmissible the police tried a third time.
Wittwer confessed again! But only AFTER being confronted with his previous, unlawfully obtained, confessions.
Justice Fish, writing for the unanimous court stated that the police conduct was:
“…sufficient to taint the subsequent statement and to cry out for its exclusion … To hold otherwise is to invite the perception that the police are legally entitled to reap the benefit of their own infringements of a suspect’s constitutional rights. And this, in my view, would bring the administration of justice into disrepute.”
Some people may be outraged that a sexual abuser who confessed THREE TIMES will have his conviction overturned.
But I am more outraged by the incompetence of the police that investigated these charges. Three young girls were sexually abused and the pedophile that assaulted them now has another chance at being found not guilty, because the police did not respect the rules.
What do you think?
You can read the entire decision here.