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Crown begins appeal of decision to throw out convictions in BC Legislature bomb plot

Last Updated Jan 15, 2018 at 5:26 pm PDT

John Nuttall and Amanda Korody are shown in a still image taken from RCMP undercover video. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-RCMP

Crown says judge had no basis to conclude RCMP manipulated John Nuttall, Amanda Korody

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The Crown’s appeal of a decision to overturn terror convictions against a former Surrey couple who failed to carry out a terror plot at the legislature in 2013 begins today.

In documents filed in BC’s Court of Appeal, the Crown says Justice Catherine Bruce of the BC Supreme Court had no basis to conclude the RCMP manipulated John Nuttall and Amanda Korody into plotting to kill dozens of innocent people and first responders on Canada Day in 2013.

A months-long jury trial ended in June 2015 when Nuttall and Korody were found guilty of conspiring to commit murder, possessing an explosive substance and placing an explosive in a public place, all on behalf of a terrorist group.

The convictions were put on hold until a year later, when Bruce ruled the pair had been entrapped by police, who she said used trickery, deceit and veiled threats to engineer the bomb plot.

A three-day appeal of a judge’s decision to throw out convictions against the couple begins today.

The Crown says in arguments filed with the court that Nuttall and Korody were completely responsible for crafting and carrying out the plan and the undercover RCMP operation did not qualify as either manipulative or an abuse of process.

“Mr. Nuttall and Ms. Korody eagerly conspired to build improvised explosive devices and detonate them in a public space during a national holiday … as an act of ‘jihad,’ to ‘strike terror’ in the hearts of Canadian ‘infidels,’ ” the document says.

“An average person, standing in their shoes, would never have done so.”

“My view remains that the police had a reasonable suspicion to investigate [and] nothing done by either of these individuals at any point lessened that suspicion,” said Crown prosecutor Peter Eccles in 2016, immediately after the judge’s decision to throw the convictions out.

“These individuals had some rather odd plans. Unfortunately, they also had some very realistic, very simple, very doable plans,” he said.

Lawyers for Nuttall and Korody say in their arguments that there is no reason to reverse the stays of proceedings.

They say in a court document that the couple feared they would be killed by the shadowy terrorist group they believed they were involved with if they didn’t follow through with the bomb plot.

The document also says police provided Nuttall, who had converted to Islam alongside his wife, with improper spiritual advice that deflected his qualms about whether terrorism was compatible with his new faith.

“The targets were confused recent converts to Islam, were unemployed, survived on social assistance, and were methadone-dependent, recovering heroin addicts with very few people in their lives, either friends or family,” the respondents’ argument says.

The Crown’s appeal also claims Bruce inappropriately dismissed two of four criminal charges.

In one accusation, Bruce found the charge of facilitating a terrorist activity did not apply because the defendants were already accused of being the apparent masterminds, so to be tried for both organizing and helping with the plot could result in double punishment.

Nuttall and Korody’s lawyers say the judge’s decision was correct.