VANCOUVER – Crown lawyers in British Columbia are trying to use a peace bond hearing as a second chance to prosecute a man freed after a judge ruled police had manipulated him into carrying out a terrorist act, his lawyer says.
Marilyn Sandford, who represents John Nuttall, told a provincial court judge on Thursday that a push by the Crown to submit evidence that was already ruled on during her client’s earlier terrorism trial is unfair and illegal.
Lawyers for Nuttall and his common-law wife Amanda Korody are arguing in advance of a planned peace bond hearing that could force them to be of good behaviour and obey conditions set by the court.
In June 2015, a B.C. Supreme Court jury found the pair guilty of terrorism-related charges after they planted what they believed were explosives at the provincial legislature on Canada Day in 2013.
Justice Catherine Bruce overturned the verdicts last year in a scathing decision that criticized the RCMP for entrapping two people she described as naive and marginalized former heroin addicts into carrying out the supposed bomb plot.
“These pieces of evidence that my friends now seem to have cherry picked … come from an undercover operation involving an imaginary world that was just wrongful and abusive,” Sandford told provincial court Judge Reginald Harris during a hearing about the admissibility of certain evidence in peace bond proceedings.
“It’s a snippet out of context … of what happened the day before, and the day before that, and all of the proceedings that led up to it,” she added.
“They cannot, we say, cherry pick from the enormously lengthy undercover operation certain facts, snippets of conversation, that the Crown likes.”
The Crown has said the pair still pose a threat to the public and should be placed under a peace bond.
Lawyers representing the Crown have repeatedly argued in past court proceedings that Nuttall and Korody had embraced a violent and extremist version of Islam and spoke frequently about killing or maiming soldiers, children and other members of the public who didn’t share their world view.
Crown lawyer Sharon Steele said outside the courtroom Thursday the conditions of the proposed bond have not been finalized but would likely resemble the bail conditions currently in place against Nuttall and Korody.
They are forbidden from visiting the B.C. legislature, the Canadian Forces Base in Esquimalt and any synagogue or Jewish school. They must also report regularly to a bail supervisor and are forbidden from having weapons.
Sandford also argued the provincial court doesn’t have the authority to rule on an issue that has already been settled in B.C. Supreme Court, namely whether her client is a safety risk.
The July 2016 entrapment ruling staying the guilty verdicts found that Nuttall would not have behaved the way he did were it not for the manipulative involvement of the RCMP and that he poses no threat to the public, she added.
In an earlier appearance in provincial court related to the peace bond application, Nuttall and Korody’s lawyers protested the Crown’s plans to have the pair’s bail supervisors testify, saying the workers had become agents of the state after being asked by police to go above and beyond while dealing with these two files.
The Crown is expected to present its case on Friday. A date has not been set for the peace bond hearing.
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