Greg Fertuck suffered memory loss during undercover police tactic, defence argues

Greg Fertuck’s lawyer argued the RCMP manipulated an alcoholic liar suffering from memory loss into confessing to murder.

On June 21, 2019, Fertuck told undercover police that he killed his wife, Sheree Fertuck.

Sheree was last seen on Dec. 7, 2015 leaving her family farm near Kenaston, Sask.

Her body has never been found.

Fertuck was targeted in an undercover police tactic in 2018, called a “Mr. Big sting.”

For 10 months, officers pretended to be Fertuck’s friend and offered him work for a fictitious criminal organization.

Fertuck was eventually told to be honest about any unresolved issues that could affect the criminal group, and Fertuck admitted to killing Sheree.

One of the undercover officers involved in the sting took the stand for the fourth day — this time, for cross-examination.

Defence lawyer Morris Bodnar listed all the times Fertuck was drunk during the sting.

“We didn’t encourage it, but we didn’t restrict it either,” the undercover officer said.

In restaurant settings, the undercover police paid for drinks, court heard.

Bodnar then listed all the times Fertuck lied to undercover police, inferring that the confession could also be a lie.

Court also heard Fertuck fell on ice, months into the sting. He was hospitalized from Jan. 10, 2019 to Feb. 15, 2019.

Police resumed the sting when Fertuck was feeling better.

Bodnar questioned how the undercover officers determined Fertuck was medically fit to be targeted again.

He asked whether police retrieved medical reports or got confirmation from doctors that Fertuck was better.

The undercover officer said the decision to move forward with the tactic was made by his superior, adding that officers were able to see he was physically better.

Bodnar argued Fertuck wasn’t mentally healthy, as he suffered memory loss from the fall.

“Greg has a hard time remembering some of the member’s names?” Bodnar asked the undercover officer, who cannot be named under a publication ban.

“Yes, he does,” the officer responded.

Outside the courthouse, Bodnar told reporters Mr. Big stings should be illegal.

“This case shows, I hope, that Mr. Big scenarios and the Mr. Big technique should be banned in Canada … they can get anyone to confess to anything,” Bodnar said.

Bodnar said undercover police lied in the tactic and Fertuck lied to undercover police, so the truth must come from physical evidence.

“Well the physical evidence isn’t there,” Bodnar said.

RCMP found two rifle shell casings at the pit. A speck of blood, matching DNA from Sheree’s razor, was detected on Fertuck’s truck.

The Crown believes Fertuck shot Sheree twice at the pit, loaded her body into his truck and dumped her body in a nearby rural area.

“A very sophisticated organization [RCMP] is dealing with a person who has a major alcohol problem and then on top of that, had a major injury causing memory loss,” Bodnar said.

DEFENCE SUGGESTS SHEREE STILL ALIVE

Bodnar told reporters Sheree could be alive and could have staged her own disappearance.

“I cannot even concede that she has died,” Bodnar said.

Sheree’s children testified their mother followed a routine and was predictable.

Court heard Sheree was family-orientated and it was unusual for her not to come home after work.

Sheree’s semi-truck was found abandoned at a gravel pit near Kenaston with her cellphone, keys and jacket left inside.

Fertuck’s recorded confession has yet to play in court.

The trial is in a voir dire to determine if the Mr. Big sting evidence can be admissible.