Court rejects Mr Big Sting operation in BC murder trial

Bradley Streiling was found not guilty of Second Degree Murder yesterday (June 17, 2015), due in part to the presiding Judge’s concerns over a “Mr Big Sting” operation in the case.

Streiling’s two-year old step-son, Noah Cownden, died in Victoria on April 9, 2008.  The toddler had been left in the care of Mr. Streiling, while his mother shopped for his birthday present.  Noah died just three days before his third birthday.

Noah’s death was initially ruled an accidental death, but his step-father was charged with Second Degree Murder five years later (April 5, 2013).

Noah died from a head wound, which Mr. Streiling claimed was caused by a slip in the bathtub.  This story conflicted in part with the account of events which he told undercover officers in the “Mr Big Sting” operation which began in the fall of 2012.

A “Mr Big Sting” operation is one in which undercover police officers pose as members of a fictitious crime organization, who then offer to protect the accused if he gives them a full confession of events.

In this case, the B.C. Supreme Court watched a video of a meeting between Streiling and an undercover officer who promised to provide Streiling an alibi for Noah’s death.

Streiling told the undercover officer that Noah threw up in his high chair, and was given a quick bath. Following that, he slipped in the tub, “which is kind of what started it all,” said Streiling, leading him to feel “just anger or rage over everything that happened at the time”.

He then told the officer he pushed Noah, grabbed him by the lower jaw, held him by the upper neck and lower jaw and hit him down a couple of times.

Justice Jennifer Power found that Mr. Streiling’s confession to the supposed “gang leader” was unreliable, due to police inducement.  The lack of conclusive medical evidence also played a role in the not guilty verdict.


Jayne Embree, M.A.

Jayne holds a Masters in Psychology and is a highly experienced Divorce Coach and Child Specialist. She is currently working with the Administrative and Human Resources Departments of Butterfield Law.

Related Mr Big Sting article:


Mr Big sting: Police operation explained