POLITICS

Court hears accused terrorist worry killing children will anger Muslims

03/23/2015 02:46 EDT | Updated 05/23/2015 05:59 EDT
VANCOUVER - As time ticks by with no news of an explosion, accused B.C. terrorist John Nuttall becomes increasingly panicked about a potential Muslim backlash if too many children die in the legislature bomb plot.

Footage captured by hidden cameras and watched by a B.C. Supreme Court jury shows Nuttall becoming more and more agitated as the scheduled explosion time between 9 and 10 a.m. on July 1, 2013, comes and goes.

"What if it goes off and kills a bunch of kids?" he asks his wife, co-accused Amanda Korody, about the possibility of a delayed detonation.

"There are going to be Muslims hunting for us … if we kill too many kids," he says. "Just pray to Allah nothing happens to those kids."

Video played Monday shows Nuttall pacing inside a Fraser Valley motel room the couple had been taken to by an undercover RCMP officer to use as a safe house.

Earlier that morning, Nuttall and Korody allegedly planted three homemade pressure-cooker explosives on the lawn of the B.C. legislature in Victoria.

The RCMP ensured the bombs were inert, the Crown has said.

Nuttall eventually starts to lay blame for the botched mission on faulty explosives, which he and Korody had acquired with the help of an undercover officer posing as an Arab businessman.

"It must be the C-whatchamacallit," says a clearly frustrated Nuttall over the phone to the officer, referring to the C-4 plastic explosive.

"Those timers were fine. I checked them 10 times. You checked them 10 times. They were ticking."

Video watched by the jury shows Korody and Nuttall stuffing clothes into black plastic garbage bags in preparation to flee.

Nuttall earlier told Korody the officer had secured a plane and that they would soon leave Canada, though he had not specified their destination.

Nuttall eventually takes a call from the undercover officer who instructs the pair to meet him at a Burger King restaurant across the street and to leave everything behind.

Moments after video footage shows them leaving the Abbotsford, B.C., motel room, loud voices can be heard as police descend on the scene — the culmination of the sting operation.

Their arrests marked the conclusion of the Crown's interrogation of its star witness, the undercover officer, on Monday.

In the ensuing cross-examination, Nuttall's defence lawyer Marilyn Sandford referred to police notes about a meeting the key witness had reportedly attended on March 1, 2013.

"Among the things discussed was ensuring that scenarios consider that the target may be developmentally delayed," she said. "Does that ring a bell sir?"

"No," said the officer, whose identity is protected by a publication ban.

Sandford continued to reference police notes when she later asked about the purpose of an undercover scenario that involved the officer asking Nuttall to deliver an unidentified package to a locker in a Vancouver transit terminal.

She asked the witness to clarify what was meant by the stated purpose of testing the target's abilities.

"To check if he can follow directions," answered the officer, clarifying that he was referring to Nuttall's ability to follow the directions of undercover police.

The court later heard of a number of other police scenarios designed to continue building a rapport between Nuttall and the officer, some of which, the officer confirmed, aimed to give Nuttall the impression that "nefarious, criminal conduct" was taking place.

The trial also heard that the officer gave Nuttall gifts, which besides money included a prayer mat, a Qur'an holder, beads and incense.

Nuttall and Korody were recent Muslim converts and the trial has heard that they see themselves in the middle of a war between Islam and the western world.

The two accused terrorists previously told an undercover officer they were inspired by al-Qaida propaganda and wanted to avenge what they viewed as the mistreatment of Muslims overseas.

The jury heard in previous recordings Nuttall saying he hoped the attack would hurt the morale of Canadian soldiers fighting Muslims in countries like Afghanistan.

Earlier, Nuttall said he expected the death toll to reach as high as 200 and that he harboured no regrets for the Canada Day attack.

Both he and Korody have pleaded not guilty to all charges.

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