VICTORIA – Freedom was short for two people who a judge ruled were entrapped in an elaborate RCMP terror sting.
John Nuttall and Amanda Korody were let go at BC Supreme Court today after a judge stayed terror charges against them saying that without the police it would have been impossible for them to carry out plans to place bombs at the BC legislature in 2013.
The couple was promptly arrested again and taken to provincial court, where they’ll go before a judge on a peace bond application that would make them subject to conditions for up to a year. They’ve since been released.
The Public Prosecution Service said in a news release that it would be applying for terrorism peace bonds for the couple, and has filed a notice of appeal.
Consent has been given by the PPSC on behalf of the Attorney General of Canada to the laying of informations pursuant to s. 810.011(1) terrorism peace bonds.
Earlier today, BC Supreme Court Justice Catherine Bruce said the RCMP entrapped John Nuttall and Amanda Korody through a months-long undercover sting leading up to the Canada Day bomb plot in 2013.
— Martin MacMahon (@martinmacmahon) July 29, 2016
She went on to say the police manufactured a crime by instigating and skillfully engineering the very terrorist acts committed by the couple.
A jury found the pair guilty of three terrorism-related charges last year, but Bruce delayed registering the convictions at the request of defence lawyers, who wanted to argue that the Mounties entrapped their clients.
The judge has ordered a stay of proceedings and her ruling means the jury’s guilty verdict will not appear on any criminal record and can’t be used against the couple in the future.
This is the first time in Canada the legal defence of entrapment has been successfully argued in a terrorism case — three previous instances all failed.
Will this force an end to “Mr. Big” operations?
Civil liberties lawyers say this ruling should be a sign to police that they need to consider ending the use of so called “Mr. Big” operations.
A “Mr. Big” operation involves undercover officers pretend to be a criminal organization in order to convince a suspect to confess.
Micheal Vonn with the BC Civil Liberites association says we need some concrete rules to reign in police.
“Canada goes farther than many places in the world and i think that would shock a lot of canadian citizens,” explains Vonn. “I think this may be the start.”
This isn’t the first time the technique has been criticized in the courts.
A man in Newfoundland had 2007 convictions for the murders of his young daughters overturned when the Supreme Court of Canada ruled his confession durign a Mr. Big sting was not reliable.
This ruling should be the beginning of the end for “Mr. Big” operations, civil liberties lawyers call for more concrete rules.