Couple ‘entrapped’ by police in B.C. legislature bomb plot files suit against RCMP

Click to play video: 'Accused Canada Day bombers suing for damages'
Accused Canada Day bombers suing for damages
The two people who were accused of planting bombs at a Victoria Canada Day celebration are suing the investigators, RCMP and the BC and Canadian governments. Rumina Daya explains why. – Aug 31, 2022

The B.C. couple charged with plotting to bomb the B.C. legislature nearly a decade ago are suing the police, the provincial and federal governments over the ‘Mr. Big’ sting that led to their arrests.

A jury found John Nuttall and Amanda Korody guilty in 2015 of the plot to plant pressure cooker bombs at the legislative precinct on Canada Day, 2013. But the verdict was never entered after trial judge Catharine Bruce found police had “entrapped” the pair. She stayed proceedings against them.

In 2018, the B.C. Court of Appeal unanimously upheld that decision, with one member of the three-judge panel calling the case “a travesty of justice.”

On Monday, the pair filed notice of a civil claim naming the RCMP, two Crown prosecutors and the governments of British Columbia and Canada, alleging their Charter rights were violated.

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Click to play video: 'B.C. Court of Appeal ruling keeps Nuttall, Korody out of prison'
B.C. Court of Appeal ruling keeps Nuttall, Korody out of prison

“Justice Bruce in the supreme court said the RCMP manufactured the case against John and Amanda, and it’s the Court of Appeal that called it a travesty of justice,” said Nathan Muirhead, the couple’s lawyer.

“We want to make sure the RCMP never abuse their responsibility against ordinary Canadians, as they did in this case, again.”

Nuttall and Korody were arrested July 1, 2013 after planting what they believed were functional pressure cooker bombs on the legislature grounds. At trial, the court saw video of them discussing the plan, working on the devices and eventually placing them.

The pair were recent converts to Islam, and were targeted by a months-long RCMP undercover operation dubbed ‘Project Souvenir’ in which an officer posing as an Arab businessman befriended them and offered to help.

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Click to play video: 'Nuttall and Korody case: Crown appeals ruling in terrorist plot'
Nuttall and Korody case: Crown appeals ruling in terrorist plot

In throwing out their conviction, Bruce acknowledged Nuttall’s extremist beliefs, but ruled the RCMP exploited his poor knowledge of Islam, and used “trickery” and “veiled threats” to manipulate the pair, who were “recovering heroin addicts” who were neither motivated to act nor capable of accomplishing such an attack.

“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,” Bruce wrote.

In the suit, the pair claim they suffered serious harm including three years of imprisonment, along with damage to their mental and physical health.

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Muirhead said they continue to live with the consequences of the case.

Click to play video: 'Nuttall and Korody terror verdict overturned due to entrapment by RCMP'
Nuttall and Korody terror verdict overturned due to entrapment by RCMP

“The stigma of this has stayed with them and will stay with them for the rest of their lives,” he said.

He said the pair are not seeking a specific monetary amount in damages, but instead are focused on preventing future RCMP misconduct.

Asked how people should view the suit, given that the pair had in fact planted what they believed were real bombs that would kill hundreds of people, Muirhead pointed back to their trial.

“When the public looks at that, they should look at what Justice Bruce found after carefully considering the evidence,” he said. “John and Amanda would not have been a threat to the Canadian public if it weren’t for the actions of the RCMP.”

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The Public Prosecution Service of Canada and the RCMP declined to comment on the civil claim.

None of the defendants in the case have yet to file their response to the notice of claim.

None of the claims have been proven in court.

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