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Canadian court throws out terrorism charges against BC couple

Crescent International


On Friday July 29, John Nuttall, 41 and his common law wife, 32-year-old Amanda Korody were acquitted of terrorism charges because Justice Catherine Bruce ruled the police actively planned the terror plot and pressured the defendants into committing the crime.

The British Columbia (BC) Supreme Court has thrown out terrorism charges against a Vancouver couple because of what the presiding judge called police “entrapment” of the defendants.

On Friday July 29, John Nuttall, 41 and his common law wife, 32-year-old Amanda Korody were acquitted of terrorism charges because Justice Catherine Bruce ruled the police actively planned the terror plot and pressured the defendants into committing the crime.

Nuttall has been described as mentally imbalanced and apart from espousing jihadist rhetoric he was never able to put anything into practice despite intense pressure from the police. At one stage he talked about blowing a passenger train but the service had long ceased to operate. Despite this, the police kept pressuring the pair into committing other crimes.

Under what came to be called ‘Project Souvenir’, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) spent hundreds of thousands of dollars over a two-year period in an attempt to coercive the defendants to commit a terrorist act.

Last year (June 2015), a jury convicted the couple on terrorism related charges including planting pressure cooker bombs and killing an unidentified number of people. Defence lawyers, however, appealed to the BC Supreme Court. On July 29, Justice Bruce stayed the charges against the couple.

Despite the stay of charges, as the couple headed out with family to celebrate their freedom and have lunch at an outdoor café in East Vancouver, police cruisers surrounded their car and ordered the couple out. Nuttall and Korody were immediately arrested and handcuffed.

"It was such a relief for them to get out. It was so relaxing," said Nuttall's mother, Maureen Smith, but said she was devastated when the police arrested them again.

“Oh, I was just terrified,” said Smith. “I just thought, what the hell? What's going on? Oh, my God, are they ever going to be free?”

Mark Jette, one of the lawyers representing Amanda Korody called it "very disappointing." He said "There was a real lack of courtesy in the way we were dealt with." By late Friday (July 29), the pair was released on bail. They're scheduled to return to court September 7.

Prosecutors demanded the couple must post a “peace bond” under the new oppressive Bill C-51 that was passed by the former Conservative regime in its dying days. The peace bond clause was added under what came to be called “fear of terrorism” section of the Criminal Code.

Lawyers and human rights activists have roundly condemned Bill C-51 and the current Liberal government promised during last year’s election campaign to repeal its regressive sections but it has not indicated yet when it might introduce legislation in parliament.

"The purpose of a terrorism peace bond is to prevent or disrupt a specific individual from committing a terrorism offence," according to the government’s background statement.

In her stay of charges against the couple, Justice Bruce wrote:

“This was an undercover operation in which the police took two marginalized people, who had done no more than verbally fantasize about engaging in violence for jihadist purposes, and skillfully manipulated them into participating in an act of terrorism that was planned almost entirely by the police and which could not have been executed without overwhelming assistance from the police. This was not a situation in which the police were attempting to disrupt an ongoing criminal enterprise; rather, the offences committed by the defendants were brought about by the police and would not have occurred without their involvement. By any measure, this was a clear case of police-manufactured crime.”

Justice Bruce wrote in her verdict: “the police engaged in a multi-faceted and systematic manipulation of the defendants to induce them into committing a terrorist offence.” Several police officers, whose names cannot be revealed as per the court order, acted as members of a terrorist organization and threatened the defendants that if they failed to comply with their demands, they would be killed.

“I am also satisfied that the deceit practised upon the defendants constituted an implied threat. Any reasonable person would have concluded that the members of such a terrorist organization were ruthless. The defendants were so convinced that Officer A and his associates were part of Al Qaeda that they came to fear the officers would kill them if they did not complete the terrorist plan that was orchestrated by the police.”

It is gratifying that there are judges in Canada that are concerned about the rule of law and Charter Rights to reject such manipulation by the police. Unfortunately, other people in the past—one can immediately think of the Toronto-18 Case—in which RCMP agents entrapped innocent people. Those agents were Muslims but they prostituted themselves and their faith for a fistful of dollars to mislead people. One of the fundamental duties of a Muslim is “to enforce the common good and prohibit evil”, as the Qur’an emphasizes (3:104), yet here were people claiming to be Muslims yet they pushed people into criminal activity for money.

In the Nuttall and Korody case, Justice Bruce upheld the law and prevented another innocent couple from being sent to prison for a crime that was clearly instigated by the police.



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