B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk).

Man seeks bail after confession motivated to kill common-law wife: B.C. Crown

Wade Skiffington’s confession about killing Wanda Martin in Richmond was recorded on a hidden camera

A man seeking bail while awaiting the possibility of a new trial had a “she is leaving me motive” to kill his common-law wife in B.C. in 1994 and his confession to an undercover officer should stand, a Crown counsel says.

Hank Reiner told a B.C. Supreme Court judge on Wednesday that Wade Skiffington was angry and jealous and feared he would lose his spouse and his young son.

Reiner said a supposed crime boss did not threaten Skiffington, whose confession about killing Wanda Martin in Richmond was recorded on a hidden video camera and shown in court.

The Newfoundland and Labrador resident is being defended by lawyers from Innocence Canada, which works to exonerate people believed to be wrongly convicted. They maintain police used a so-called Mr. Big operation to coerce a confession that was not credible.

Skiffington was found guilty of second-degree murder in 2001 and is serving a life sentence.

Last year, Innocence Canada asked the federal Justice Department to review the conviction, which is ongoing, while it helps Skiffington apply for bail in hopes the case goes to the B.C. Court of Appeal and a new trial is ordered.

Reiner said that while defence lawyer Philip Campbell argued his client would not have lied to the fictitious crime boss who used violence as an intimidation tactic, the evidence shows Skiffington is repeatedly caught lying to the head of the fake criminal gang that recruited him.

“To Mr. Big, he vacillated between saying he was innocent, he hired a hit man, to again being innocent and to finally confessing. Can anyone seriously argue that Mr. Big would have to express anger and frustration in that context?”

Reiner said Skiffington’s demeanour in the video recording should also be noted, adding he appears to be searching his memory and seems nervous.

“It is a small wonder that Mr. Campbell would like you not to consider demeanour,” Reiner told Justice Michael Tammen.

Mr. Big stings typically involve police setting up elaborate scenarios designed to extract confessions from suspects who are told trust, loyalty and honesty are prized above everything by a group that becomes a family and promises inducements.

A Supreme Court of Canada decision in 2014 involved a Newfoundland and Labrador man convicted of drowning his twin daughters after such a sting by the RCMP.

The top court ruled Nelson Hart’s confession to undercover police was inadmissible and two first-degree murder charges against him were withdrawn.

Camille Bains, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Gas leak clears shopping centre in Courtenay

Fire department does not find smell source but turns up carbon monoxide traces

Federal justice minister consults with British Columbians on assisted-death law

During a coast-to-coast tour this week, federal Justice Minister David Lametti has… Continue reading

One last blast of winter tonight for the Valley before temperatures on the rise

A snowfall warning is in effect Friday including east Vancouver Island.

YANA celebrating its 30th annual Big Love Benefit Feb. 28

“The extra touches that the committee has added this year are going to knock some socks off.”

Comox’s Cooke wins Boating BC scholarship

Highland grad is currently studying in VIU’s marine mechanical tech program

After cashing in on QB gambles, Chiefs and 49ers to clash in Super Bowl

KC beats Tennessee, San Francisco dispatches Green Bay to reach NFL title game

B.C. VIEWS: Few clouds on Horgan’s horizon

Horgan’s biggest challenge in the remainder of his term will be to keep the economy humming along

Victoria family focuses on ‘letting go, enjoying time together’ after dad gets dementia

Walter Strauss has developed an interest in music and now takes line dancing classes

B.C. forest industry grasps for hope amid seven-month strike, shutdowns, changes

Some experts say this could be worse for forestry than the 2008 financial crisis

Northern B.C. RCMP investigating alleged sexual assault in downtown Smithers

One person was transported by ambulance to hospital following RCMP investigation at Sedaz

UBC, Iranian-Canadian community create memorial scholarship in honour of victims

The Jan. 8 crash killed 176 people, including 57 Canadians

Disrespectful that Horgan won’t meet during northern B.C. tour: hereditary chief

Na’moks said he was frustrated Horgan didn’t meet with the chiefs

Most Read