November 19, 2014 - 5:43 PM
KAMLOOPS – A Kamloops Supreme Court jury was privy to details of elaborate and costly business dealings between undercover RCMP officers posing as criminals, trying to ensnare a murder suspect in a three-month-long Mr. Big sting.
Robert Donald Balbar is charged with second-degree murder in the 2003 death of his girlfriend Heather Hamill. Court viewed video evidence of Balbar’s alleged confession to Hamill’s murder when he met an undercover officer posing as a crime boss.
On Wednesday afternoon, jury members heard an undercover officer, who cannot be identified by law, explain the process of convincing Balbar during cross-examination. Several recorded discussions between Balbar and the officer were entered as evidence.
To convince Balbar he was part of a criminal organization, several expensive simulated interactions were acted out by undercover officers. The scenarios included a high-stakes poker game, using Balbar as a mule for various packages travelling the province, making a cross-country bus trip and having Balbar act as security while one officer made false gang-related collections.
One instance involved a fake assault where Balbar guarded the door of a hotel room while the undercover officer made loud banging noises to make it sound like he was beating a woman he accused of stealing from the gang. The woman was also an undercover officer.
“This is my show... you don’t do anything,” the officer told Balbar on the recording before the assault. “If there’s a bone to be broken, I’m going to break it.”
The woman cried, moaned and screamed. When Balbar re-entered the room, the woman had fake blood on her lips, the officer said.
Another female undercover officer posed as a woman indebted to the gang. She met with the undercover officer and Balbar when she told them of a man who carried a lot of cash. The officer said she suggested they rob him as a way to pay off her debt.
For each completed job, the officer said he awarded Balbar with a cash payment. As part of his activities, the officer said Balbar was treated regularly to hotels and meals. He had clothes purchased for him. The officer said there was an evening when he and other officers had Balbar visit an apartment for a meal and to watch porn.
The officer said Balbar also received a phone to remain in contact with the gang.
A Mr. Big sting is an undercover RCMP operation which involves convincing a suspect he or she is joining a criminal organization. The operation culminates with the suspect confessing their criminal past to the crime boss – Mr. Big – who also works as an undercover RCMP officer.
The trial will continue Thursday morning.
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