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

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

FILE – Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have agreed to sign a memorandum on rights and title with B.C. and Ottawa, but elected chiefs are demanding it be called off over lack of consultation. (Thom Barker photo)
Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, Lake Babine Nation get provincial funding for land, title rights

Government says it’s a new, flexible model for future agreements between Canada, B.C. and First Nations.

Kieran Christison, manager of Daybreak Farms in Terrace inspects eggs on Oct. 30, 2020. Christison wants to transition to a zero waste, cage-free facility. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Daybreak Farms aiming to achieve zero-waste, cage-free facility

Kieran Christison, manager, presented the farm’s future plans to Terrace city council

Mercedes Trigo, assistant manager, said that Trigo’s Lifestyle Store in Terrace has experienced four broken windows and an attempted break-in recently, leaving her feeling unsupported by bystanders and the police. (Ben Bogstie/Terrace Standard)
Trigo’s management frustrated by property damage, theft

In a little over a month there have been four broken windows and an attempted break-in at the store

Two RCMP officers have been recognized for their actions in responding to an incident involving a man with a weapon at 4501 Park Ave. on the afternoon of April 27, 2020. RCMP say it was an isolated incident and there is no danger to the general public. (Jake Wray photo)
Terrace RCMP officers recognized for acts of bravery

Two involved in arrest of armed suspect

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: B.C. lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

The funeral of Britain’s Prince Philip in Windsor, England, on Saturday, April 17, 2021. Philip died April 9 at the age of 99. (Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP)
VIDEO: Prince Philip laid to rest Saturday as sombre queen sits alone

The entire royal procession and funeral took place out of public view within the grounds of Windsor Castle

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. health minister says delay in Moderna vaccine ‘disappointing’

‘The sooner we get vaccines in people’s arms the better, and inconsistency in delivery is a consistent problem. This is simply a reality and not an issue of blame,’ Adrian Dix said Friday

(Police handout/Kamloops RCMP)
B.C. man dies in custody awaiting trial for Valentine’s Day robbery, kidnapping spree

Robert James Rennie, who was on the Kamloops RCMP’s most wanted list, passed away at the North Fraser Pretrial Centre in Coquitlam

Photos of Vancouver Canucks players are pictured outside the closed box office of Rogers Arena in downtown Vancouver Thursday, April 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canucks games against Leafs postponed as team returns from COVID-19

The team has had 11 games postponed since an outbreak late last month

Danita Bilozaze and her daughter Dani in Comox. Photo by Karen McKinnon
Island woman makes historic name change for truth and reconciliation

Becomes first person in Canada to be issued new passport under the TRC Calls to Action

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
RCMP intercept vehicle fleeing with infant taken from Kamloops hospital

The baby was at the hospital receiving life-saving care

Vancouver Police Const. Deepak Sood is under review by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. after making comments to a harm reduction advocate Sunday, April 11. (Screen grab)
VIDEO: Vancouver officer convicted of uttering threats under watchdog review again

Const. Deepak Sood was recorded Sunday saying ‘I’ll smack you’ and ‘go back to selling drugs’ to a harm reduction advocate

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate persists, 1,005 new cases Friday

Hospitalization up to 425, six more virus-related deaths

Most Read