Mack: Mr. Big Receives an Undeserved Reprieve, Recommended Jury Instructions Are Too Weak

Document Type

Response or Comment

Publication Date



R v Mack, R v Hart, Mr. Big Operations, Sting Investigations, Jury Instructions


While Hart may have curtailed some of the extremes of Mr. Big undercover sting investigations, it did not impose an outright ban. Moreover, even as it introduced common law controls on the admissibility of Mr. Big-induced confessions, it left the crucial issue of jury instructions up to the companion case of Mack. The result is distressing. Mack tolerates another Mr. Big operation, albeit more moderate, which shared the generic features of Hart, but it failed to impose sufficiently exacting standards on this unique tactic. Mack was also unwilling to require more explicitness by trial judges when they explain the framework for jury consideration of the fruits of a crime boss encounter.

This comment scrutinizes the Mack permutation of the Mr. Big storyline and contends it demonstrates that the bar in Hart was set too low. It also examines the Mack outlook on jury instructions and concludes that jurors should be advised more comprehensively, accurately and mandatorily of its now-acknowledged dangers.