July 29, 2016 9:02 am
Updated: July 29, 2016 10:30 pm

B.C. judge rules RCMP entrapped pair guilty of terrorism: Convictions overturned

WATCH ABOVE: A B.C. couple convicted for a terrorist plot has been released from jail after a judge ruled they were entrapped by the RCMP. Lynn Colliar explains why the landmark ruling could have an impact across the country.

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A couple found guilty of plotting to blow up the B.C. Legislature on Canada Day three years ago have been released from prison Friday.

A B.C. Supreme Court judge has ruled the RCMP entrapped John Nuttall and Amanda Korody to blow up the Legislature.

The pair were found guilty of three terrorism-related charges last year. However, this ruling means the guilty verdicts will now be void.

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But within hours of their release Nuttall’s mom – Maureen Smith- told Global News both Nuttall and Korody were taken into custody.

She says the pair was arrested on Commercial Drive after having lunch.

A source tells Global News that Crown is seeking conditions on their release because they are still considered a threat.

Judge Catherine Bruce issued a scathing ruling finding that the RCMP used “deceit and trickery” to entrap Nuttall and Korody. She said the couple did not have the mental capacity to carry out the crime on their own and committed “illegal acts” in their investigation.

After their release, the two embraced in the lobby of the courthouse.

“We’re just happy to be free you guys,” Nuttall told reporters outside of court. Korody would only say she was feeling “overwhelmed.”

The two then got into a cab.

“It makes me so angry that the cops did that to my son and to Amanda,” said Maureen Smith, Nuttall’s mother. “I just pray that those police get what’s coming to them.”

READ MORE: RCMP terrorism sting must be condemned: lawyer

In her statement, Bruce said the pair posed “no threat” to the public. She said the two were “jobless, marginalized, recovering heroin addicts” and that they “weren’t smart enough.”

“It was a stinging indictment of a very misguided and ill-considered police operation that should never have happened and Justice Bruce has nailed it in my view,” said Marilyn Sandford, Nuttall’s lawyer.

During the long trial, the defence argued Nuttall and Korody would not have committed the acts if it were not for the encouragement of undercover police officers working the case. Crown, however, said the RCMP were only guiding Nuttall towards the plans he had already proposed and put in motion.

“It’s serious because it shows the extent to which they overplayed their hand,” said Mark Jette, Amanda Korody’s lawyer. “The extent of which they went too far to manufacture crime.”

READ MORE: Terror suspects posed risk from outset: Crown

The judge added the undercover RCMP officer became a lifeline to Nuttall and Korody and that the officer isolated them.

Crown has filed a notice of appeal.

“My disappointment is more with respect of the legal implications with this decision,” said Crown lawyer Peter Eccles. “And the law that was applied because they judge and I will simply agree to disagree with respect to various aspects of the law.”

This is the first time in Canada the legal defence of entrapment has been successfully argued in a terrorism case.

The implications of an overturned conviction can be complicated and numerous, like whether previously convicted Amanda Korody and John Nuttall should be entitled compensation for their time in prison. Aaron Mcarthur explains.

 

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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