POLITICS

Closing arguments expected this week in trial of alleged B.C. terrorism plotters

05/24/2015 06:48 EDT | Updated 05/24/2016 05:59 EDT
VANCOUVER - Crown and defence lawyers were expected to make their closing arguments this week to the jury hearing the case of two people accused of plotting to set off homemade bombs on the lawn of the B.C. legislature.

John Nuttall and Amanda Korody were charged after an elaborate, months-long RCMP sting operation — they face three terrorism-related charges: conspiring to commit murder, possessing explosives on behalf of a terrorist group and conspiring to place explosives on behalf of a terrorist group.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Catherine Bruce entered a not guilty plea earlier this month on a fourth charge — knowingly facilitating a terrorist activity — citing unspecified legal reasons.

The two accused have pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The jury has watched and listened to reams of video footage and extensive audio recordings collected over months by police investigators with the help of several undercover officers who posed as terrorist liaisons and befriended the accused. Nuttall, who along with Korody converted to Islam, was heard on some of the recordings talking about the need to get justice for what he perceived to be persecution of Muslims.

Using what they believed were authentic al-Qaida connections, the couple allegedly acquired several kilograms of what police have testified were fake explosives prepared by RCMP experts to arm a trio of pressure cookers packed with nails and other deadly metal shrapnel. The Crown alleges the pair wanted to set off bombs at the legislature in 2013 on Canada Day.

The Crown also highlighted how often and forcefully the accused affirmed their commitment to maim and kill innocent people in order to spread their message to the Western world.

Nuttall and Korody's lawyers countered with a different interpretation of events, painting a picture of the couple as victims of police pressure.

The defence has pointed to instances where, they argue, undercover officers encouraged Nuttall and Korody to follow a quicker timeline for example, or to come up with a more feasible plan in lieu of some of the ideas they expressed on the recordings, such as a proposed scheme to hijack a nuclear submarine.

Neither accused testified.

Bruce is set to give legal instructions to the jury once the prosecution and defence lawyers have made their closing arguments.

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