John Nuttall, Amanda Korody planned a Canada Day bombing as 'terrorist cell,' says Crown
Couple charged after police seized pressure-cooker bombs on B.C. Legislature grounds
The Crown alleges the B.C. couple accused of plotting to bomb the B.C. Legislature on Canada Day in 2013 wanted to kill people, and compared their plan to the Boston Marathon bombings and Sept. 11 attacks.
Amanda Korody and John Nuttall placed two pressure-cooker bombs in two places on the front lawn of the legislature in Victoria, said Crown counsel Peter Eccles in his opening arguments Monday.
They did this "for the benefit of their homegrown two-person terrorist cell," said Eccles.
"Two people can be a terrorist group. We don't say they are members of al-Qaeda. We don't need to prove that to prove they are terrorists," he said.
Nuttall and Korody, on trial before a jury in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver, have pleaded not guilty to charges of knowingly facilitating a terrorist activity, conspiracy and making or possessing an explosive device.
The pair, in their 30s, were arrested at their Surrey home in July 2013 after police seized the pressure-cooker bombs on the grounds of the legislature on Canada Day.
Same bomb type used at Boston Marathon: Crown
A jury heard the Crown describe its case against the couple, which is largely based on surveillance videos and wiretap conversations.
Over months, Nuttall got to know an undercover officer as an Arab businessman who was sympathetic to jihadist movements.
In June 2013, Nuttall gave the man a hand drawn diagram of a pressure cooker bomb downloaded from the same website used by the bombers at the Boston Marathon bombing, according to Eccles.
He told the officer he wanted to build a bigger and better one, because "Boston only killed eight people," according to the Crown.
The Crown alleges the pair bought supplies for the bomb at Canadian Tire, Home Depot and Walmart, and that they believed the undercover officer was adding C4 explosives.
Accused 'ensnared' by undercover police, defence says
Nuttall's lawyer, Marilyn Sanford, didn't dispute that he helped build the bombs at the Sundance Hotel in Delta, B.C., in June 2013.
But Sanford asked jurors not to jump to conclusions when they listen to wiretap conversations of Nuttall and Korody as they worked on the devices. She asked them to consider Nuttall's state of mind and level of sophistication.
She told the jury Nuttall was afraid what the man they knew would do to them if they failed to make the bombs, and that they might end up "in cement galoshes at the bottom of the ocean."
Korody's lawyer, Mark Jette, said his client was ensnared by a police undercover operation.
He said she was sick at critical times during the alleged plot. She was vomiting frequently and on methadone for her drug addiction, said Jette.
My son is innocent, mother says
Outside court, Nuttall's mother, Maureen Smith, told reporters her son and his girlfriend were being made an example of by the federal government.
"The Canadian government wants everyone so they can have more control over the people and say, 'Oh look, we're doing our job, look at these terrorists,'" said Smith.
She described Nuttall and Korody as "very genuine" with "serious disabilities."
"They're two of the sweetest people you could ever meet in your life," she said.
The trial is expected to last several weeks.
Many details of the allegations against Korody and Nuttall are covered by a publication ban.
- An earlier version of this article used an alias for the undercover officer.Feb 26, 2015 3:13 PM PT
With files from Terry Donnelly and Natalie Clancy