The following account is provided by Patrick's mother, Linda Fischer.
Interestingly enough, Linda went to the conference in Winnipeg on wrongful convictions last November in hopes of getting the facts of what had happened to her son into the hands of someone who could help. Dave Burns was there, on a similar mission for his son Sebastian Burns, but he and Linda did not meet each other. Eventually, through this website, they did connect.
Canada, land of the free. These are words that I would recite as a young person with much pride. Today these words send a chill up my back and a longing for true justice in our country.
In Canada the RCMP have been using a secret operation known as The Mr. Big Sting to elicit confessions. This sting is used often in cold cases that are unsolved and not producing any new evidence or leads.
A confession is regarded as the most powerful, persuasive and damning evidence of guilt that can be produced. A false confession is the most prejudicial evidence that can arise at trial. Judges and juries are usually unwilling to accept that someone who has confessed did not actually commit the crime, why on earth would an innocent person confess to a crime? Confession evidence alone generally ensures a conviction. This is exactly why the RCMP loves the Mr. Big Sting.
The Mr. Big scenario is a win win situation for the RCMP. They are designed to get a confession, not the truth. They engage people in small criminal activities in order to assassinate their character, their truthfulness and credibility in the court and in the media. By using coercion, fear and threats they are able to elicit false confessions from people. The average person on a jury will not understand how a person can confess if they are innocent and the defendant has already been made to look like a criminal in the eyes of the jurors.
When the Canadian RCMP resorts to such flawed and deceitful methods to elicit confessions, all trust in our justice system is lost. Not only is this scenario dangerous to all our freedoms, it has been performed countless times under the cloak of secrecy. The courts in trying to hide their dirty tactics have had publication bans on these methods under the disguise of trying to protect the RCMP undercover, when in fact it is done to keep the Canadian public from knowing the level of deceit and lies the police use. At what cost are the guilty to be found? One wrongful conviction is too much.
Mr. Big Sting is used on highly suggestible or impressionable suspects. They are often people who struggle financially, loners and are often on the fringes of society. The protocols or safeguards to enhance reliability of the evidence is almost non existent. The psychological strategies used by these undercover police can cause both guilty and innocent people to confess.
I am the mother of a wrongful convicted. My son Patrick Fischer, on Nov 30, 2001 was convicted of 1st degree murder in the death of Darci Drefko. His case is a prime example of how the Mr. Big Sting can elicit false confessions and allow the real killer or killers to roam free.
On May 15th, 1999 the clothed and partially decomposed body of 16 year old Darci Drefko was found by 11 horseback riders in a wooded area off Lilly Lake Road, outside of Merritt BC.
Darci and her sister Susan were involved in a drug & prostitution ring ran by a group of East Indians who supplied a pipeline of drugs and girls to Surrey and other areas. Previously, on March 13, 1999 Darci was brutally raped, beaten and left naked in a ditch in Surrey BC. Unfortunately even after that, Darci still wanted to go to Surrey. In fact her family had thought she was in Surrey as she had been missing for over 3 weeks. The investigation into her rape was concluded due to her death rather than resolved!
The critical issues at trial were the identity of the killer, and whether the murder was planned and deliberate. According to RCMP Ms. Drefko was last seen as a passenger in Pat's car on April 24, 1999. There was no forensic evidence linking Pat to the murder.
Since the police felt Pat was the last person to see her alive they targeted him as their main suspect. They were unable to find any evidence to implicate him and arranged a year later to have an undercover operation sting put in place that is known as "Mr. Big".
On April 03, 2000 the Undercover Operation targeting Pat Fischer was approved. May 2000, surveillance began on Pat.
The RCMP Undercover targeted Pat and befriended him at a time when he was living alone in Abbottsford, broken up from his girl friend and was having trouble finding a job. They used his financial and social situation to reel him in.
May 23, 2000 was the first meeting between Pat and undercover officer Joe. The first scenario involved Pat helping to locate a girl that Joe knew, as Joe was new in town. After this first scenario Pat was paid money for helping him and Joe gave Pat his number and asked him to call so they could look again. Pat did not call, so the RCMP set up another meeting, trying once again to get Pat involved with them and this time they succeeded.
Over time the RCMP staged little scenarios to look like criminal activities and paid Pat well. Joe informed Pat they he would have to be checked out by the big boss before he could do a major deal as they had to be sure there was nothing in his background that could jeopardize the deal. Pat agreed to him investigating him through the undercover informants, as he had nothing to hide. Joe made a point of letting Pat know that he was vouching for him and putting his neck on the line. Pat stipulated that he did not want to be involved in any violence or murder, he just wanted to make some money and eventually open up his own business, get married and settle down.
July 17, 2000 an undercover operator had Pat count $100,000 on a bed in a motel, paid him $600 for counting the money. Then they handed him $20,000 that would be payment for an operation involving loading boxes onto a plane on a private airstrip. They put the money in a safe deposit box at the bank in Pat's name and the undercover kept the key. After the job was done he would receive the money.
Throughout his time with the undercover, Pat was led to believe they were his family now. They bought him clothes, meals, alcohol, took him out to bars (previously Pat rarely consumed alcohol) & strip joints, and paid him more money than he could ever possibly make working a 9-5 job. In fact at one point Pat had obtained employment with an auto dealer and missed out on a few scenarios as his work schedule conflicted with the scenarios. Joe remarked- "Pat you work too much, you could make a lot more money with us". Eventually Pat quit the auto dealer. They used strong inducements to keep Pat involved in their so called criminal activities, all the while knowing that these activities would put him in a bad light with a jury.
July 25, 2000 with no prior notice Pat was taken to Surrey and introduced to Mr. Big - the Crime Boss. Pat described him as a big, intimidating guy. He was led to believe that he was the head of the Hells Angels in BC. He was left there by himself in a hotel room with Mr. Big and given King Cans of beer to drink. Pat lived in a different town and with Joe gone had no transportation and no money. This guaranteed that he was practically held hostage by the RCMP.
The Crime Boss kept asking Pat what his limitations were and Pat replied no violence, he didn't want to get involved in anything he couldn't get out of. When asked by the Crime Boss if asked, would he whack the guy nest door? Pat replied No. The crime boss says how do you know, you might like it, to which Pat replied, No, I did it before and didn't like it.
Pat fabricated a story about killing a guy for raping his girlfriend while living in Kelowna to end the conversation regarding Pat's lack of willingness to be involved in violence. This story rattled the undercover in the other room watching the video; here was a murder they weren't even expecting. This story was later confirmed by police as being false.
When Mr. Big recovered from this unexpected information he showed Pat a RCMP Memo on RCMP letterhead, that Mr. Big's informant in the RCMP had faxed to him. It said all suspects had been cleared in the Drefko murder except for Pat and his arrest was imminent. Pat was shocked, when he read it but then said, "it figured as Gobeil had signed it". Pat and Constable Gobeil had a very difficult relationship and Pat did not trust him at all.
Mr. Big informed Pat that they could not afford to have any heat coming down on the organization, especially now with the big job they had coming up (the one where Pat gets his $20,000). He pointed to the memo and said this is a big loose end and we don't have loose ends in our organization. Mr. Big stresses to Pat that Pat knew who he was, what he looked like, that a big job was about to go down, that Joe had vouched for him and that Joe's ass is on the line since he brought him into the organization.
This interview with Mr. Big lasts for 2 hours, Pat repeatedly denies killing Darci. If the RCMP is after Pat, it's a problem for the organization, and problems can be dangerous. Pat realizes that this heat is a big problem; it is jeopardizing the major deal and the $20,000. Problems have a way of disappearing in this organization and besides the organization, the cops are coming to arrest him on a murder, he never committed, he & his family have no money to fight this accusation and Pat does not trust the cops. He is alone in a hotel room, out of town with no car, with the head of the Hells Angels waving a paper that he is a big loose end to the organization, and they don't have loose ends.
This scenario is common in the Mr. Big Sting; the police use subtle, veiled threats to frighten and intimidate their target and elicit confessions. People are frightened and are willing to confess just to get out of the situation and also in hopes of still receiving the promised money. In our country one of our lawful rights is the right to remain silent, which in turn protects against false confessions. The Mr. Big Sting takes away our right of silence or an individual's right to give a confession freely and voluntarily. It takes away an individual's right to speak or not. The Mr. Big confessions are not free and voluntary. They are given with inducements of promised cash, they are deprived of leaving the situation and they are intimidated into making some kind of confession in order to get out of the situation.
Pat already knew from Joe how the organization operated and that all problems have a way of disappearing but Pat denied killing Darci, he talked about Darci and told of the day that he gave her a ride to the vet clinic.
Pat tells about his interview with Gobeil and how he offered DNA and was going to take a polygraph until his mother talked to a lawyer and advised her not to let him take a polygraph. Pat didn't trust Gobeil and polygraphs could be manipulated by the cops.
Mr. Big agreed that they can be manipulated and asked Pat if he needed his help. Pat replied "By the looks of this (Memo), I do." Then Mr. Big said, " If you're telling me you need my help, then you are willing to tell me you did this" Pat said "No, I didn't kill Darci, but I need your help."
Mr. Big tells Pat the simplest way to get the cops off his back is to take the lie detector test. Pat tells him he doesn't trust the cops as they can manipulate the test. Mr. Big agrees they can manipulate the test but he tells Pat that he has an individual in the United States that is a polygraph operator and he can teach you how to beat the lie detector test. He would need full details to design the questions. Pat did not refuse to take the test because he believed such a test could incriminate him, Pat said he would have to be guaranteed to pass the test, as he didn't trust the cops.
It was a constant theme throughout that Pat had a generally poor opinion of and distrusted police officers, in particular certain members of the Merritt RCMP detachment. He stated on a number of occasions that he feared the police could or would manipulate any polygraph test he might consent to take. to make him look guilty of the Drefko homicide.
Mr. Big tells Pat "If you did it, I'll look after it, I'll help you get through it, but you've got to trust me on that, but if you didn't do it, the lie detector test is the simplest way to get rid of it, okay." Do you want me to help? Pat finally gives in to fear and greed and says "yeah". Mr. Big says, "You did it, didn't you". Pat nods his head and says Yeah and then fabricates another story based on rumors about the murder.
Pat tells the undercover that the east Indian Prostitution ring ordered him to kill Darci or be killed. That Darci was talking too much and had to be eliminated.
Pat confessed to strangling her at his mother's trailer, placing her in the trunk of his car and then dumping her body on Lilly Lake Road. He had burnt all the evidence and police would not even be able to test his car for evidence as he had totaled it off on the same day as her body was found and that it had been crushed.
The RCMP tell Pat that in order for them to help him on the lie detector test they need to know the body location. Pat takes the undercover to Lilly Lake Road, but is confused on the first trip and on the second trip he takes them to a location that he feels is the site. Pat actually takes them to a location that is 100 yards away. Pat is later arrested and charged with first degree murder in the death of Darci Drefko.
The offer of help with the lie detector test is again another inducement provided by the RCMP. As far as Pat is concerned, arrest is imminent according to the RCMP memo. Pat's distrust of the police, his lack of finances are a big concern to him that he will be railroaded, and this guy is promising to help him, all he has to do is basically say he did it and this guy will make it disappear, even if he didn't! What does he really have to lose? They're coming for him anyway. Also to fabricate evidence such as a RCMP memo is an oppressive condition that can produce a false confession.
Confessions should be excluded when police trickery is so appalling that it shocks the community. I believe when the Canadian Public is made aware of these tactics used that they will be extremely shocked that this takes place in Canada. The US does not allow the Mr. Big Sting; they see it for what it is and what it can do to innocent people. This sting puts the burden of proof on the accused, as it puts the accused in a negative light with the jury already, by having them perform criminal activities, which in fact affects the presumption of innocence. This makes the defendant unpopular and can lead to miscarriages of justice, which has happened in Pat's case and in others convicted by this sting.
The prosecution relied heavily on Pat's incriminating statements in the summer of 2000 to undercover police officers, in the Mr. Big Sting . The Prosecution at trial tried to use the fact that Pat knew
1. Darci had not been sexually assaulted and that she was fully clothed when found
2. That there was no DNA under her fingernails or any forensic evidence at the scene
3. That her body had not been buried but left on the ground near a log
As additional evidence that he knew too much.
It was proven at trial that
On May 18, 1999 Susan was interviewed by the RCMP about whether she had ever seen her sister involved in a suffocation game known as 'sleepers'. She was also told at that time that her sister had not been raped. Gobeil told Pat on May 25, 1999 that Darci was not raped. The June 9, 1999 edition of the Merritt Morning Market reported 'there is no indication of sexual assault at the time of Darci's death
2. When Pat offered Gobeil his DNA he was refused as they said there was no point because she wasn't raped.
The Merritt Herald ran a story on the front page on May 19, 1999 entitled Teen's body discovered. This story stated " Drefko's body was discovered in a clearing off Lilly Lake Road on Saturday". It stands to reason that if she had been buried the paper would have stated that or found in shallow grave.
These were all facts that were known to the public but the prosecutor still tried to infer that Pat knew too much.
The prosecution stated that Pat's knowledge of two pieces of "hold-back" information not disclosed to the public - the cause of death (strangulation) and the location of the body (by a log off Lily Lake Road, near Merritt) were fact enough to substantiate the confession. According to the police the killer would only know these facts. This holdback was very compromised and not as secret as they would like to believe.
Holdback #1 Location of Body
11 horseback riders found Darci's body. The riders marked the spot with branches and red vet tape. They went back to the ranch and told the owner's 16-year-old son what they had found, gave him directions and asked him to contact the RCMP. The 16-year-old also attended high school in Merritt
On May 15th 1999 there was also a pre grad party at Gang Bang Flats and many camped out at Lilly Lake Road. Her body was found between Gang Bang Flats and where they camped out. At trial it was testified to that at least 4 people saw the police cars in the bush on the way to the party. There were at least 20 people at the party. there the evening of the May 15th.
On May 16th a helicopter was in the air taking pictures of the body site area. Pat had an accident on Lilly Lake Road when the helicopter was in the air.
The Merritt Herald ran a story on the front page on May 19, 1999 entitled Teen's body discovered. This story stated " Drefko's body was discovered in a clearing off Lilly Lake Road on Saturday". " The clearing is located about 20 minutes out of town- local teenagers camping in the forest that weekend noticed police vehicles on the scene all night Saturday and into Sunday morning,"
There are at least 32 people that we know of that knew the actual location of the body site let alone how many saw the circling of helicopters on 2 different occasions.
For the RCMP to decide to use the location of the body as "hold back" when so many people were known to know the exact site is ridiculous. Gossip and Rumors are entertainment for people in a small town. Darci's death was big news and gossip and rumors were rampant. Even the local paper asked the town to stop the rumors.
It is clear that Pat would have substantial knowledge as to where Darci's body was found between his own sighting of the helicopter over the site, his knowledge of the area as he trail biked often through Lilly Lake Road and from all the rumors and press articles. The location was easy to fit into his false confession.
Hold Back #2 Cause of Death
The RCMP decided to keep the cause of death a hold back fact.
Sargent Beck interviewed Susan (Darci's sister) regarding Darci's death. During this interview Susan was asked about Darci's sex life, if she liked kinky sex, if she was into S&M, if she was into sleepers. Susan replied that she didn't know about Darci's sex life. Sleepers is a dangerous game where pressure is applied to the major artery in the neck and people pass out and get a bit of a high. Possibly Darci was playing the sleeper game, as there were no signs of a struggle!
Pat testified that in mid June, about 1 month after Darci's body was found he saw Paul downtown (Darci's father) and Paul said that Susan wanted to speak with Pat about the day he had given Darci a ride. Pat then went and spoke to Susan in her bedroom. Susan stated that she was upset with the RCMP because they weren't telling her anything, and they asked her all about sleepers and if Darci did sleepers. Susan said that she had never seen that done to Darci.
Susan at trial was very evasive about this conversation with Pat, couldn't remember for sure, but Susan's dad Paul testified that Susan and Pat did have a conversation after Darci's death.
Pat at trial stated that his conversation with Susan (Darci's sister) on the use of "sleepers" led him to believe strangulation was used. I also believe the police provided this info to Susan knowing that she would relay this info to Pat. In the original police interview after Darci was found Pat said he thought that Darci was stabbed, shot or mutilated it is only after his conversations with Susan that strangulation comes up.
Darci was found murdered May 15, 1999; the undercover sting is initiated in late May 2000. A whole year has passed with info being provided to Pat to make a convincing confession. Pat used the rumors and newspaper articles that he had heard around town to make his confession to "Mr. Big" sound plausible.
Pat made up the story that the East Indians ordered him to kill Darci or be killed himself as Darci was talking about the drug and prostitution ring to the press. The Merritt Herald had stated that Darci was never interviewed. The first of a series of articles on this problem did not even appear in the paper until April 28th 1999, this is 4 days after the RCMP believes Darci was murdered!
The RCMP testified in court that they had used some undercover techniques with the East Indians regarding Pat's connection with them. Constable Lazenby confirmed that there was no connection between Pat and the East Indians. Darci's sister Susan testified that Pat was not associated with the "East Indians". Sergeant Adams who conducted the post arrest interview tells Pat that he is a professional, is highly trained and knows that Pat's story about the East Indians is bullshit! Yet his false confession that used these details was used against him to substantiate 1st degree murder charges.
There was absolutely no evidence to link Pat to this murder other than this coerced false confession. The RCMP did a very light review of the trailer where Pat says he killed her, no forensic evidence of Darci being there. The floor where he states he killed her, her clothes and shoes should have been full of wood slivers from the plywood floor saw dust and gyprock dust as it was under renovation. Her shoes should have been full of dirt from lack of a sidewalk. Her clothing and shoes were absolutely clean
Pat says that he killed her at 6:00 PM, yet she spoke to her Aunt Geraldine between 7:00 - 8:00 PM and later seen at 10:00 or 11:00 PM by her father and Moria.
The undercover's in their conversation with Pat over time made a point of telling him stories on how to destroy evidence, through burning, making people disappear, etc. I feel this was done to psychologically give him fodder to use in his fabricated story.
Pat's car had not been destroyed as he thought. Police had seized it and did go over it completely and did not find any hairs or fibers, etc to link Darci to his trunk.
The coroner gives a 3-week window for time of death. Darci's sister testifies that when Darci left with Pat she didn't have her purse or makeup with her. After her body is found when police ask for these items Susan tells them they are not there. It stands to reason that Darci did come back for them after her ride with Pat. Darci's best friend testified that the last time she saw her, Darci was hitchhiking to Surrey and had her backpack and makeup, etc. These items have never been recovered.
Also the boyfriend of the father's cocaine dealer was known to do drugs and cocaine with Darci. Darci's body had cocaine in it, and Pat is known not to do Cocaine. When Darci's body was found she even had a photo of Moira's boyfriend with her in a hotel room. It was testified in court that him and Darci would often fight. He was also arrested for assault of his girlfriend, Moira after she gave testimony on the day of the preliminary hearing. When Darci disappeared, he also fled on April 28, 1999 without getting his welfare cheque, stole his girlfriend's jewelry and skipped town. He was arrested by police for the theft. He also failed a polygraph in regards to Darci but nothing was done about this and now this man is dead, I don't know how he died, but he's gone and we'll never know!
At Pat's trials there was a publication ban in effect until November 15, 2001 when the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the details of the undercover tactics could now be published. "It is in the public interest to fully explore in the media the police conduct during the investigation of this crime" stated a defense
By having a publication ban the newspaper accounts were one sided, front page and often incorrect in their facts, that people from the second jury on the street, had to have already formed an opinion based on the one sided facts in the paper from the first trial.
The first trial was a hung jury and was discharged on Thursday October 18, 2001 and the trial judge directed jury selection for the second trial to begin on the following Monday. The jury pool was collected by Jury slips being handed out at a local mall over the weekend. The second trial was front-page news, with no change of venue, and another murdered teenager on the day of jury selection (coincidentally Darci's stepsister Cherish Oppenheim).
Saturday October 13, 2001 Cherish Oppenheim, Darci's stepsister disappeared, on Sunday October 21, 2001 her dead body was found in a wooded area outside of Merritt. On Monday October 22, 2001 the first day of Pat's 2nd trial Robert Raymond Dezwaan confessed to strangling her (Cherish) and was charged with 1st Degree Murder. At the time of the murder Dezwaan was at large awaiting trial for alleged unlawful confinement, robbery, and sexual assault of a prostitute and uttering threats. With two dead sisters left in the woods the judge refused a change of venue for Pat's 2nd trial! It was not a good climate to start a second trial. Is there a connection between Robert & Darci?
The list of atrocities in this trial goes on and on, from no change of venue after the murdered stepsister to juror slips handed out at the mall. GPS fraud and an underage juror as a tryor of fact. The Post Arrest transcripts being denied to jurors who requested them, but the prosecution got to cherry pick what they wanted to use from the post arrest in their cross examination, to the coerced confessions by the Mr. Big Sting,
Pat doesn't just confess to one murder to please the undercover, he confesses to two! Yet the 1st murder is proven to have never happened, so the Prosecutor states that Pat is guilty of Darci's murder due to his demeanor when speaking of Darci. He says that Pat looks remorseful and ashamed of killing her. When in fact Pat is saddened but it is because he knew this girl, not that he murdered her.
Training programs frequently lead police to believe that they can identify whether suspects are truthful or deceptive just by observing their body language and verbage. Research has clearly demonstrated that relying on these kinds of clues does not accurately discriminate between truthfulness and deception. Yet at trial, the prosecutor repeatedly pointed out that just his body language cried out "guilty".
There are so many areas in which the law failed and that deserve examination. There is absolutely no forensic evidence to link Pat to this murder. Even the RCMP have testified that there is no connection between Pat and the East Indians, yet he is serving a life sentence based on his false confession that he was ordered by the East Indians and planned and deliberated this murder. The verdict of the jury is not supported by the evidence and is unreasonable. If only there had been DNA or forensic evidence, then the real killer could be caught. Until someone comes forward with information, or this case is investigated, Pat will spend the rest of his life in jail, wrongfully convicted. He has already spent 5 years incarcerated and all appeals have been exhausted.
It is now time for The Mr. Big Sting to be exposed to the public. Until the Supreme Court with the Clayton Mentuck case and R V One came forward in overturning the Mr. Big publication bans, very few people knew about the Mr. Big Sting. I don't believe that we even fully grasp the amount of people that are now wrongfully convicted due to this sting.
I'm sure you've heard about the Sebastian Burns, Atif Rafay case, Kyle Unger just recently and as we speak the Hathway trial in Saskatoon. Now, you also know about Patrick Fischer and our quest for justice. We need this to be exposed, we need a public outcry and we desperately need people to come forward with info regarding Darci, her whereabouts during that 3 week period, her friends, her enemies and any info on the people involved with Darci.