The British Columbia man convicted last summer of plotting to bomb the province's legislature might have been radicalized by someone from Canada's spy agency, according to newly released court documents.
John Nuttall and his girlfriend Amanda Korody, recent converts to Islam, were found guilty last June for possessing explosive devices for a terrorist group and conspiring to commit murder in 2013. They pleaded not guilty to the charges.
But their convictions and sentencing were delayed so that their defence team could launch new proceedings arguing that the couple was entrapped by undercover police officers during a lengthy sting operation. Much of the evidence against them comes from the 70 plus hours of surveillance footage of them. And if the entrapment argument is successful, their convictions could be overturned.
Their entrapment hearings began last year. But a number of media outlets argued that a transcript from a secret hearing last week should be made public. On Wednesday, BC Supreme Court justice Catherine Bruce released heavily redacted transcripts of the hearing, much to the dismay of the Crown attorney and lawyers for the Canada's spy agency CSIS, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, who argued that the information was insufficient and could compromise the agency's privacy.
According to the transcripts, as reported by the Canadian Press, Nuttall and Korody's lawyers are trying to obtain communications between CSIS and someone who allegedly provided information to the spy agency, "a person who will be referred to as [X]."
"If there [redacted] was a human source then that raises serious issues about the potential role of CSIS in inciting the applicants to commit terrorist acts," said Marilyn Sandford, Nuttall's lawyer, according to the transcript, adding that if the source was an Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) or CSIS agent who encouraged them in this way, then that could be seen as entrapment.
The Crown attorney Peter Eccles refuted Sandford's position, saying that it's based on shaky grounds. "The sole source for the assertion that [X], one, is a CSIS informant, agent, or otherwise providing information, and two, had anything to do with radicalizing Mr. Nuttall, is Mr. Nuttall, through his counsel," he said.
Eccles added that these allegations "ruin careers, destroy officers' ability to function, and ruin the reputation of the RCMP and CSIS."
In her ruling on the defence's application, Bruce said "the evidence forming part of the trial record gives rise to an inference that there may well have been a connection between [X] and CSIS. It was CSIS surveillance that led to the RCMP investigation."
After their trial last year, Sandford told reporters that the RCMP, Canada's federal police force, had "manufactured" her clients' crimes. "We also have arguments that the police themselves committed crimes. They were involved in exactly the same activities as our clients were," she added.
The entrapment proceedings are slated to continue into February.
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