VANCOUVER – A British Columbia man found guilty of masterminding a terrorist bomb plot pleaded with an undercover police officer to find him a gun right after he described wanting to kill someone for insulting Islam, a court has heard.
Video-surveillance footage played in B.C. Supreme Court on Monday shows John Nuttall asking an undercover officer, whose identity cannot be revealed, for a “small handgun” as a “gesture of trust.”
Seated in the passenger seat of a vehicle in an ill-fitting blue suit, Nuttall had explained minutes earlier the murderous rage he felt toward an American soldier who had criticized Islam.
“I wanted to put a gun to his head and right before I pulled the trigger I wanted to say, ‘Taste what you used to deny,’ and send him straight to the hell-fire,” Nuttall said, stroking his wiry, grey-tinged goatee.
“I had my marble gun. I could have just pulled it out and put it to his head but (two other people) were in the back seat and I didn’t have enough bullets to take them all out.”
Nuttall and his common-law partner Amanda Korody were found guilty last summer of plotting to blow up the provincial legislature in Victoria during Canada Day celebrations three years ago. The convictions are on hold while their lawyers argue they were entrapped by the RCMP.
The entrapment argument was left to the judge after the jury’s verdict because the issue is considered to be a question of law.
Defence lawyers finished their case on Monday, arguing that without the Mounties’ involvement their clients would never have attempted to carry out a terrorist attack.
Crown lawyers have begun their arguments and are expected to play about four hours of new audio and video evidence, not seen by jury members during last year’s trial.
Video shown in court on Monday of Nuttall asking for a weapon was recorded on May 4, the day police first began their wiretap. The RCMP had initially made contact with Nuttall about two months earlier, when an undercover officer enlisted Nuttall’s help in finding his fictitious missing niece.
Prosecutor Peter Eccles said outside the court that Crown will use video footage, audio recordings and police notes to dispute defence’s entrapment argument, showing that Nuttall and Korody posed a real threat to society before they were ever targeted in a police sting.
“We’re filling in the last pieces of the jigsaw puzzle,” Eccles said outside the courtroom.
Last week Nuttall and Korody’s lawyers abandoned efforts to force Canada’s spy agency to hand over secret documents related to a covert investigation into the pair.
Attempts to access the confidential information were moving too slowly through the Federal Court and there was no end in sight, said the couple’s legal counsel outside court.
Nuttall and Korody were arrested on July 1, 2013, following an elaborate RCMP sting in which officers posed as Muslim extremists and befriended them.
B.C. Supreme Court Justice Catherine Bruce, who was the trial judge, is also hearing entrapment arguments in the case.
Proceedings are expected to last another several days and then the court will adjourn until closing statements in June.