POLITICS

Lawyer suggests undercover cop steered accused B.C. terrorist to quicker plan

04/08/2015 02:57 EDT | Updated 06/08/2015 05:59 EDT
VANCOUVER - John Nuttall has the look of a scolded schoolchild, hanging his head while an undercover police officer chastises him for not being invested enough in his terrorist plot.

Video taken in June 2013 and played for a B.C. Supreme Court jury on Wednesday shows the accused terrorist apologizing for failing to fine tune his plan to an officer posing as an al-Qaeda liaison.

The officer had set Nuttall up in a protected hotel room in Kelowna, B.C., where he could work in peace, the jury heard.

"You know how many people it took to prepare that room?" asks the officer, who cannot be identified, while Nuttall stares sheepishly into his lap.

"For me it's a sign of disrespect."

The officer says he needs to see Nuttall is invested, "otherwise nothing is going to happen."

Nuttall is wearing a black and white Middle Eastern scarf around his neck, draped over a sleeveless black T-shirt that revealed his tattooed arms.

When he lifts his tinted John Lennon-style glasses to his forehead, black kohl eyeliner can be seen around his eyes.

Nuttall floats ideas for targets — a strip club, a gay bar, a ferry between Vancouver Island and Washington state, a visiting U.S. aircraft carrier — before concluding that pressure-cooker bombs would be faster and easier to build than homemade rockets.

"Get the stuff," the officer tells him.

"I'll get you a place and the tools and we'll do it together. I'll help you do it."

Nuttall and his wife Amanda Korody have pleaded not guilty to four terrorism-related charges stemming from an alleged plan to attack the provincial legislature on Canada Day 2013.

They were arrested as part of a months-long sting involving more than 240 police officers.

In court on Wednesday, Nuttall's defence lawyer Marilyn Sandford suggested the undercover officer — the Crown's key witness — played a heavy-handed role in directing Nuttall.

Sandford suggested the officer guided the accused terrorist toward a quicker, more feasible plan that was "not a fantasy."

"You knew that he had none of the equipment, the materials or anything to further his rocket plan," Sandford said in court.

"I was given the directive to discourage Mr. Nuttall from making homemade explosives and that's what I did," replied the officer.

"And to encourage him to actually do something that actually did pose a public-safety risk, building a pressure-cooker device," Sandford said.

"No," the officer replied.

In a recording taken while Nuttall, Korody and the officer were en route to Kelowna, Nuttall also mused about setting off a couple of pressure-cooker explosives in a Victoria shopping mall to serve as a distraction.

He suggested to the officer driving the vehicle that they place the explosives in a garbage can near the urinals in a men's washroom to avoid killing women and children, as well as followers of Islam.

"Muslims would be in a stall," Nuttall said.

"We don't stand up to pee like a dog. Therefore we'd only be targeting kafirs," he added, using the Arabic term for infidels or unbelievers.

Nuttall and Korody were recent converts to Islam. The jury heard them say in previous videos that they wanted to stage an attack on the western world to avenge what they described as the mistreatment of Muslims.

- Follow @gwomand on Twitter