Man convicted of murdering daughters a free man

Court. (Fotolia)

Court. (Fotolia)

QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 5:09 PM ET

A Newfoundland father convicted of drowning his twin daughters is a free man and won't face a new trial following the Supreme Court's ruling last week that evidence from a Mr. Big sting against him is inadmissible.

Nelson Hart was found guilty in 2007 for the first-degree murders of his three-year-old girls, Karen and Krista, who drowned in Gander Lake in 2002. He was sentenced to life in prison.

Hart initially told police Krista fell off a wharf and he panicked, driving away to get help even though he had a functioning cellphone, according to court documents. He said he left Karen behind and drove 11 km to his apartment — a route that passed a hospital — and brought his wife back to the scene, where they found both girls in the water.

He later changed his story and said he'd had an epileptic seizure on the wharf and didn't know how the girls got into the water.

In 2005, Mounties launched a Mr. Big operation — a sting in which cops pose as criminals to try to coax confessions — and Hart told them he'd killed the girls, court heard.

But the Newfoundland Court of Appeal overturned the convictions in 2012, ruling Hart's charter rights had been breached.

Last Thursday, the Supreme Court agreed.

"To be sure, Mr. Big operations can become abusive and they can produce confessions that are unreliable and prejudicial," the top court ruled, and ordered that Hart get a retrial.

But on Tuesday the Crown withdrew the charge in provincial Supreme Court in Gander, N.L. Hart won't be retried and was reportedly released from prison Tuesday.


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