A B.C. Supreme Court jury has found John Nuttall and Amanda Korody guilty for plotting a 2013 Canada Day attack on the B.C. Legislature.
The couple is guilty of one count each of conspiring to commit murder and possessing explosives for the benefit or on behalf of a terrorist organization. But the case is far from over — Nuttall and Korody's lawyers will be back in court to argue the case that the pair were entrapped by police.
The jury began its deliberations on Sunday following a nearly four-month trial and three days of judge's instructions that were more than 300 pages long. Nuttall and Korody were accused of conspiracy to commit murder, making or possessing an explosive device, and conspiracy to place an explosive device with the intent to cause death or injury.
As the verdict was read out, Nuttall made a heart shape with his fingers directed at Korody.
'Manufactured crime,' say defence lawyers
The convictions won't be entered until after the defence has a chance to argue that police entrapped the couple into the plot during a sting operation. The jury's guilty verdicts can be stayed if the judge finds entrapment or other abuses of process.
Nuttall's lawyer Marilyn Sandford said her client was "disappointed" with the verdict, "but he also appreciates some of the important issues are to be determined by the judge in the next phase and not the jury."
Arguments for entrapment will be heard by the judge in July.
Lawyers for Korody and Nuttall say RCMP officers manipulated the pair and maintain that their plan to detonate the bombs at the legislature would not have materialized had they not been pushed by police.
The defence lawyers zeroed in on instances where undercover officers encouraged Nuttall and Korody to follow a quicker timeline, or to opt for a more realistic plot. Recordings revealed the couple had previously proposed plans to hijack a nuclear submarine or take a commuter train hostage.
Sandford accused the key undercover officer involved in the RCMP sting of using the threat of disappointing Allah to frighten her client into hatching a viable plot for jihad.
"The RCMP manufactured this crime, and that is not permissible in our law," Sandford said after the verdicts were delivered. "We also have arguments that the police themselves committed crimes. They were involved in exactly the same activities as our clients were to a large extent, at least some of them."
The defence described the couple not as terrorists but former heroin addicts with money issues who were given a purpose when befriended by undercover RCMP officers, who gave them money, clothes and spiritual guidance.
"Any time you go through a situation like this and you're found guilty, it's not a pleasant feeling," said Korody's lawyer Mark Jette. "But she [Korody] is also prepared for it and prepared for this next stage of this case … the entrapment and abuse of process aspect, which is where I think the rubber hits the road in this case."
No entrapment, Crown says
However, Crown prosecutor Peter Eccles argued the couple used what they believed were authentic terrorist connections to secure several kilograms of what RCMP officers have testified were fake explosives to arm a trio of pressure-cooker bombs brimming with deadly metal shrapnel.
"They weren't entrapped," he said outside of court. "It was done using old-fashioned undercover police investigation technique."
The court watched covert video footage showing Nuttall and Korody planting the bombs beneath decorative bushes flanking the B.C. Legislature early Canada Day morning.
Recordings played in court showed the pair saying they believed killing women and children was acceptable so long as they weren't explicitly targeted in the attack but rather died as collateral damage.
"We're AQ Canada, Al-Qaeda Canada, that's who we are.… We're sleepers who've been woken, that's what we are," said Nuttall to Korody in the video.
Nuttall and Korody initially faced four charges, but earlier this month Justice Catherine Bruce told the jury that, due to legal reasons, they would not be required to make a decision on the third count of the indictment — facilitating a terrorist act.
The couple had pleaded not guilty to the charges. Neither one of the accused testified in court.
Minister of Public Safety Steven Blaney issued a statement saying the federal government "applauds" the decision of the jury.
"This case serves as a stark reminder that the threat of jihadi terrorism is real and Canadians must remain vigilant," he said. "We cannot protect Canada or our communities by simply choosing to ignore this threat."
Timeline of the trial
Here is a day-by-day timeline of the trial.