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Newfoundland father at heart of Mr. Big sting to learn legal fate next week

Nelson Hart is shown in court during closing arguments at his trial in Gander, Nfld., Monday, March 26, 2007. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tara Brautigam

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – The Crown will confirm in court next week whether a Newfoundland man convicted of drowning his twin daughters after a so-called Mr. Big police sting will face a new trial.

Crown prosecutor Frances Knickle (kah-NICK’-le) says Nelson Hart will appear Tuesday in provincial Supreme Court in Gander, N.L.

She said any plans to pursue a new trial will be confirmed then.

Crown prosecutors and the provincial attorney general’s office have been reviewing a ruling Thursday from the Supreme Court of Canada.

It cast doubt on the reliability of Mr. Big stings and said a confession Hart made to undercover police officers posing as gangsters can’t be used against him.

Lawyers who appeared for Hart in the past say without the confession there is no evidence he committed any crime.

Hart, now 45, was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison in 2007 for the 2002 drowning deaths of his three-year-old twin daughters at Gander Lake.

The conviction was overturned on appeal in 2012.