Canada Day terror suspects entrapped: defence lawyer
Police recovered these three pressure cookers from the B.C. legislature during Canada Day celebrations as part of a foiled terror bomb plot. Two suspects allegedly made these into improvised explosive devices by filling them with loose metal objects and explosives. (SUBMITTED)
The lawyer for the couple accused of attempting to bomb the B.C. legislature in Victoria on Canada Day says there were “elements” of entrapment involved in the police investigation implicating his clients in a terror attack.
“As to whether or not it sufficiently constitutes the legal definition of entrapment, that remains to be seen,” Tom Morino said Tuesday outside B.C. Provincial Court in Surrey, where Amanda Korody and John Nuttall made a brief court appearance.
He said, based on the limited amount of evidence he’s seen, it’s likely police employed a “Mr. Big” operation to help make their case.
Such an operation involves using undercover officers posing as criminals to invite suspects to participate in offences.
The RCMP described the pair as “self-radicalized” and inspired by al-Qaida ideology, but Morino said police were not being objective.
“Many of the comments were a bit over the top,” he said.
“Perhaps the radicalization was assisted by others.”
The suspects, who were arrested July 1 in Abbotsford, smiled at one another when they entered the secure courtroom.
“They were married under the Islamic faith and they’re very devoted to each other,” the defence lawyer said.
“I’m not surprised that they were happy to see each other.”
Morino is representing Korody on an interim basis and has advised her to seek other counsel while he continues to represent Nuttall.
But the lawyer added there’s little incentive for either to plead guilty because of minimum mandatory sentencing involved in terrorism-related charges. He expects a jury trial in the coming months.
Nuttall, who was clutching a Qur’an in court, is going “cold turkey” while withdrawing from methadone, according to Morino.
The 38-year-old appeared with stringy hair and a bushy beard, but his lawyer said the accused was in good health even while remaining in 23-hour lockdown in segregated custody.
The Crown asked for a direct indictment to push the case up to B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver immediately. The defence agreed and the accused are next expected to appear in court Wednesday morning.
Morino said he plans to ask the judge for an adjournment so that he can have a number of months to review all the evidence.
The defence lawyer also spoke to Nuttall’s mother Monday evening. He said the woman is having trouble accepting her son was involved in such a plot.
“As I said to her, ‘You know, the extent of the involvement remains to be determined.’”
Korody and Nuttall are charged with facilitating a terrorist activity, possession of an explosive device and conspiracy to commit an indictable offense.
Mounties said they had been monitoring the couple for months as they allegedly built “inert” homemade explosive devices under the “tight control” of RCMP, which they planned to detonate at the provincial legislative buildings during a Canada Day event.
The couple’s Surrey landlords also showed up for Tuesday’s appearance.
Ramesh and Shanti Thaman said they were not there to support their former tenants and told 24 hours they had no further comments.
The Thamans had allowed reporters to tour the terror suspects’ basement suite, where one member of the 24 hours staff witnessed members of the media rummaging through Nuttall and Korody’s belongings.
Morino said he hasn’t had a chance to talk to his client in great detail about the issue.
He added it could be difficult for the defence to make a case if a client advises a lawyer about personal belongings that could be vital to proving his innocence, but others have entered the home and moved things around.
Morino said the one good outcome of the media tours was that people were made aware the couple had a cat that needed to be cared for and arrangements were later made.