John Nuttall, left, and Amanda Korody, leave jail after a judge ruled the couple were entrapped by the RCMP in a police-manufactured crime, in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday July 29, 2016. British Columbia’s Appeal Court is scheduled to release a decision today on a couple whose guilty verdict over plotting to blow up the provincial legislature was thrown out by a lower court judge. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Couple accused in legislature bomb plot free to go, B.C. top court says

Appeals court issues scathing ruling against the RCMP in the case of John Nuttall and Amanda Korody

The couple who planted pressure cooker bombs on the lawn of the B.C. Legislature on Canada Day 2013 is free to go, after the BC Court of Appeal upheld a ruling that stayed proceedings against them and said police had “pushed” the pair to commit the crime.

In a stinging decision on Wednesday, Justice Elizabeth Bennett said the RCMP “did everything necessary to facilitate” John Nuttall and Amanda Korody’s plans when they provided them with explosive material they could not have gotten on their own.

Bennett said police “went far beyond investigating” when they “manufactured” the bomb plot.

“I therefore agree… that the overall conduct of this investigation was a travesty of justice,” Bennett wrote in her 142-page decision.

READ MORE: Surrey couple caught up in B.C. Legislature bomb plot to learn their fate

The decision upheld part of a 2016 ruling from B.C. Supreme Court Justice Catherine Bruce that stayed proceedings against Nuttall and Korody, after they accused the RCMP of entrapment. Crown counsel appealed the stay earlier this year.

Nuttall and Korody, who lived in Surrey, first came to the authorities’ attention on suspicions of terrorism in 2012. Nuttall had a long unrelated rap sheet of assault, kidnapping and robbery convictions. He also had a drug dependency and mental health issues.

The two had recently converted to Islam, and Nuttall was known in the community for “espousing violent jihadist views.”

In early 2013, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service told police Nuttall was a threat to national security and that he had tried to buy materials to make explosives, although investigators were unable to corroborate the claim.

RCMP began an undercover sting to determine if Nuttall and Korody were a threat. Numerous officers played the part of agents in a terrorist investigation.

As soon as Nuttall expressed interest in jihad after seeing a Qur’an in the back seat of an officer’s car, police began exploring terror plots with the couple to see whether they would pursue one on their own.

Eventually, the police, Nuttall and Korody settled on pressure cooker bombs targeting the B.C. Legislature on Canada Day 2013.

With help from RCMP officers, the couple prepared the bombs and dropped them off on the lawn of the legislature. Police provided the explosive C-4, as well as fake detonators.

The bombs did not go off and Nuttall and Korody were arrested shortly after and were eventually convicted of conspiracy, possessing an explosive substance, and placing an explosive in a public place on behalf of a terror group in 2015.

In her ruling Wednesday, Bennett agreed with Bruce’s decision that the RCMP’s conduct was an “abuse of process.”

Bennett said police frequently infiltrate terrorist groups as part of their investigations, but they cannot do whatever they want to investigate a crime.

The RCMP eventually knew the couple had little to no ability to commit an act of terror, she said, and only carried out the bomb plot after police “pushed and pushed and pushed” them.

Bennett did not agree with two parts of the lower court ruling. She said police did have “reasonable suspicion” to investigate given Nuttall’s extremist views and past criminal history, and that an average person would not have done what Nuttall and Korody did, as police gave them 36 opportunities to back out.

“The ruling upheld our views…. that this was entrapment and police-manufactured crime,” Nuttall’s lawyer Marilyn Sandford said. “A court has drawn a line that these types of American-style sting operations are not going to be tolerated here.”

Korody’s lawyer, Scott Wright, said the couple were “very relieved” and “hoping to move on with life as much as possible.”

Their next court date is scheduled for Jan. 7 for a Crown-requested peace bond.

Crown counsel said it would be “reviewing the decision.” They declined to comment further but has 60 days to appeal.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

Four air ambulance flights out of Terrace delayed or cancelled

Pandemic precautions caused nighttime closure of service station providing weather data to pilots

Skeena Resources, Tahltan prez excited by purchase of Eskay Creek

Skeena gets full control of mine, Barrick gets 12 per cent of Skeena and a one per cent royalty

UPDATE: missing 12-year-old Terrace boy found safe

Was reported missing on Southside around 10 p.m. July 9

Terrace conservation officers relocate Spirit bear

Bear roamed Kitsumkalum Valley north of Terrace for many years

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Sports fishers protest Fraser River Chinook closures

Public Fishery Alliance wants hatchery fish open for harvest

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

Most Read