British Columbia

John Nuttall, Amanda Korody don't deserve sympathy, Crown tells jury

Members of a British Columbia jury have been asked to curb their sympathies when deciding the fate of a husband and wife accused of plotting to blow up the provincial legislature.

Closing arguments underway in trial of couple accused of plotting to bomb the B.C. legislature

John Nuttall and Amanda Korody were self-described 'heroin junkies' who struggled with money and seemed just as worried about the fate of their cat as they were about finding bomb parts.

Members of a British Columbia jury have been asked to curb their sympathies when deciding the fate of a husband and wife accused of plotting to blow up the provincial legislature.

Crown lawyer Peter Eccles said a life of hardship for John Nuttall and Amanda Korody — as recovering heroin addicts living on welfare — doesn't make them any less guilty of plotting a terrorist act.

The couple was arrested on July 1, 2013, and charged with planning to detonate homemade pressure-cooker explosives amid Canada Day crowds gathered at the B.C. legislature.

Neither of them are stupid ... Neither of them are incapable of thought.- Crown lawyer Peter Eccles

"When you feel sympathy for the accused remember who and what they were and what they intended to do," Eccles told the jury during his closing submissions on Thursday.

"They had a difficult life, yes," he added. "But they wanted to murder innocent people for a political reason. And they were committed to it."

The jury was shown more than 100 hours of video and audio surveillance of the pair collected as part of an elaborate RCMP sting operation.

Don't dismiss them as inept, says Crown

Eccles warned the jury not to consider the couple as inept, despite what he described as the sometimes comic nature of the couple's antics.

"Neither of them are stupid. Neither of them are illiterate. Neither of them are incapable of thought. Neither of them are incapable of thinking things out from start to finish," he said.

Eccles said that Korody, the seemingly timid and submissive Muslim wife, was anything but meek in private and described her as leading from the rear.

"She's the one who thinks, 'Well, if we can't get ball bearings [for the bombs] let's add marbles for shrapnel,"' he said. "That's a bit chilling.

"Mr. Nuttall is talkative, absent-minded, sometimes a bit scatter-brained, a terrible shopper and a terrorist," Eccles added. "Terrible shoppers can kill too."

Nuttall and Korody have pleaded not guilty to conspiring to commit murder and of possessing and planting explosives, all of which the Crown alleges they did on behalf of a terrorist organization made up of themselves.

Video footage played earlier in court revealed Nuttall telling Korody they were "al-Qaeda Canada" — a sleeper cell that had been woken behind enemy lines to wage war on behalf of the Muslim world.

"This is not Allah's doing. It's their doing," Eccles told the jury, describing how the pair had "twisted and perverted" Islam to suit their own goals.

The Crown concluded its final submissions with a 45-minute compilation of what it considered the best video and audio evidence shown throughout the four-month trial. The jury watched silently as Nuttall and Korody appeared to hatch the alleged bomb plot, build the devices and eventually plant them on the legislature grounds.

The highlight reel closed with video of an actual pressure-cooker explosion rip through a surrounding ring of plywood boards in a staged detonation filmed by police.

"That's what the accused wanted," said Eccles to the jury. "They're guilty. Find them so."

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Catherine Bruce began instructing the jury Thursday afternoon and deliberations are expected to begin on Saturday.