WATCH: A Victoria criminal lawyer is raising concerns about the use of paid police agents after a man confessed to alleged murders on the stand. April Lawrence reports.
The RCMP conducted an undercover operation called project E-Piracy in 2013, resulting in two cocaine trafficking charges against a man named Douglas Ketch.
During that investigation, they hired a Victoria man with a known criminal past to attempt to buy drugs from Ketch.
Matthew Holland was paid a monthly fee and promised a lump sum payment if his efforts as a police agent paid off.
Ketch was convicted last month for trafficking cocaine in BC Supreme Court.
Ketch’s lawyer, Michael Mulligan, estimates Holland was paid roughly $100,000 for his involvement.
But it was when Holland took the stand on Oct. 17 that the situation got bizarre.
Under cross-examination by Mulligan, Holland told the court he may have murdered two people 20 years ago.
The following is taken from the court transcript:
Mulligan: “So you recall an occasion about 20 years ago when somebody picked you up hitchhiking and you murdered him?”
Holland: “Well, he looked dead to me.”
Mulligan: “Okay. And what did you do to apparently murder this person?”
Holland: “I beat the sh*t out of him, man.”
Then later in the cross-examination:
Mulligan: “Who was the other person that you murdered?”
Holland: “Well, I don’t know if he’s dead either, but he seemed that way.”
Mulligan: ” Okay. When did you apparently murder the second person?”
Holland: “It was at a nightclub, a nightclub in Courtenay and it was behind the bar.”
Mulligan: “Okay. And what did you do to the man in Courtenay that you murdered?”
Holland: “I stomped his head in.”
Mulligan: “Using a weapon?”
Holland: “My boot. My boots.”
“It’s a remarkable state of affairs you don’t often see even in the course of criminal practice people admitting having committed murders in which they haven’t been arrested for in court and under oath,” Mulligan said.
In court, police admitted they knew Holland had a lengthy criminal background, including a manslaughter conviction and other crimes of violence.
Mulligan says it raises questions about the use of paid police agents.
“Rather than investigating or prosecuting the man for those violent crimes, instead the RCMP chose to employ the man and pay him a very substantial amount of money, that in my judgement may not be in accordance with basic values, public values,” Mulligan said.
The RCMP say Matthew Holland had already told police about the potential murders and that they were investigated and police couldn’t find any evidence to corroborate his stories.
They wouldn’t comment further on the case.
Holland has never been arrested or charged for either alleged incident, and under Canadian law, his statements on the stand can’t be used as evidence.