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.

Just Posted

Warning issued after several overdoses in Castlegar

Interior Health says the overdoses appear to be the result of cocaine contaminated with fentanyl.

Dream come true: sleep centre opens in Castlegar

Castlegar centre offers consultations and sleep lab tests.

Castlegar mural defaced with swastika

RCMP do not suspect that the graffiti was the act of a hate group.

How local candidates are using Facebook to advertise directly to you

Liberal campaign is the biggest spender on Facebook ads in South Okanangan–West Kootenay

Second young woman dies after rollover crash near Williams Lake

‘Someone’s going to get her heart, which is awesome, because she has the best heart in the world’

Google searches for ‘how to vote’ surge on Election Day

Interest spikes despite social media campaign by Elections Canada

Alberta man pleads guilty, fined for hunting without a licence in North Island

It’s the responsibility of each hunter or angler to know whether they are considered a B.C. Resident.

B.C. mayor apologizes for removal of Queen’s portrait from council chambers

‘I prefer to be inclusive of the many aspects of our history’

Alcohol a possible factor in crash that killed 17-year-old girl near Williams Lake

A pickup truck left the road and rolled over on Highway 20 on the weekend

Rare bird spotted in Victoria draws enthusiasts from across the continent

It’s the first time a yellow-browed warbler has been reported on the mainland of North America

B.C. woman must pay $1,000 after unleashed dog bites another

Owner should never have left Bibi unattended, tribunal member wrote

Climate activist Greta Thunberg’s mural defaced in Edmonton

The eyes on the portrait were blacked out

Most Read