POLITICS

Undercover cop gave B.C. terror suspects chance to abandon alleged plan: trial

03/11/2015 04:28 EDT | Updated 05/11/2015 05:59 EDT
VANCOUVER - A British Columbia couple turned down a last-minute chance to abandon their alleged plan to bomb the provincial legislature on Canada Day, their trial heard Wednesday.

But with the alleged attack less than a day away, John Nuttall also raised questions about killing innocent people and asked to speak with a spiritual leader — a suggestion an undercover RCMP officer, who was posing as an Arab businessman, quickly brushed aside.

The jury heard audio recorded on June 30, 2013, as the officer drove Nuttall and his wife, Amanda Korody, to a ferry terminal on their way to Victoria.

During the drive, the Mountie offers to turn the car around and take them home, but Nuttall and Korody decline.

"Go to the ferry, brother," Nuttall replies firmly.

Nuttall then addresses Korody, who had earlier expressed fears about carrying out the attack. Nuttall tells his wife he could give her the house key and she could go home.

"I'm not making you do this, you don't have to," Nuttall says.

"I know," Korody says softly, repeating that she wants to stay.

"You mean more than the whole world and everything in it to me," says Nuttall. "What you wanna do is something that most brothers won't even do."

Later, as the ferry docks on Vancouver Island, Nuttall pleads with the officer for a chance to speak with a spiritual leader and says he wishes he could go to a local mosque to ask an imam for his opinion.

"I want to make Allah happy and pleased with me, but I don't know if — I hope he's not gonna be angry at me for what I'm about to do," Nuttall can be heard telling the officer.

"(Allah) says ... if you kill an innocent man, it's like you killed all of humanity. So, is it like, anyone caught in this blast, is it because they're not innocent and they're guilty of something?"

Nuttall adds he knows he will kill innocent people but he wants to change the way Canada treats Muslims. Maybe, he suggests, the government will "bring our soldiers back" and stop supporting Israel.

The officer replies that it's not possible to speak with a spiritual leader in time. He says Allah knows what's in Nuttall's heart, and that in Islam, imams are no higher than individual members of the faith.

"That's why Islam is great," says the officer. "Because nobody's better, we're all human beings, we all make mistakes. The only greatness is to Allah."

Even though Nuttall had asked on earlier occasions to speak with a spiritual leader, the officer testified that he never tried to put Nuttall in touch with one because he didn't believe that was his job.

Nuttall and Korody had spent several days shopping for supplies and then assembling pressure cooker bombs in their motel room. The couple then met another officer who agreed to provide them with C-4 explosives.

In the latest recording played in court, the officer posing as the Arab businessman promised the couple he put more than a kilogram of explosives in each bomb. The couple believed the bombs were being transported separately to Victoria.

In fact, the officer testified that he took the pressure cookers to an RCMP detachment, where they were handled by an explosives team. The Crown has previously said the bombs were rendered inert and could not explode.

At one point, Nuttall and Korody discuss their plans to plant the bombs at around 5 a.m., with detonation between 9 and 10 a.m. The officer tells them they will stay at a safe house for three days after the explosions.

But the couple has yet to decide on a target, after compiling a list of possible locations around Victoria and discussing blowing up a skyscraper.

Both Korody and Nuttall have pleaded not guilty to four terrorism-related charges.

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