POLITICS

Police played on B.C. woman's obedience to pull her into terror plot: lawyer

05/27/2015 04:00 EDT | Updated 05/26/2016 05:59 EDT
VANCOUVER - A Crown prosecutor says a husband-and-wife duo facing terrorism-related charges is "undeniably, undoubtedly and undisputedly" guilty of scheming to blow up the provincial legislature.

However, defence lawyers are adamant that the couple's plot would have had no chance of success had undercover police not propelled it along.

A B.C. Supreme Court jury heard closing submissions on Wednesday, which recapped nearly four months of evidence — including more than 100 hours of video and audio surveillance — presented in the trial of accused terrorists John Nuttall and Amanda Korody.

They're accused of plotting to detonate homemade pressure-cooker bombs on the crowded front lawn of the B.C. legislature lawn during Canada Day festivities two years ago. They were arrested on July 1, 2013, following an elaborate RCMP sting operation and have each pleaded not guilty.

In his address to the jury, Korody's lawyer Mark Jette described his client as the perfect, submissive, Muslim wife who lived an isolated life marred by poverty and drug addiction. He said she became the victim of a controlling husband and an overeager RCMP operation intent on "pulling her into their orbit."

Jette asked the jury to question the likelihood that Nuttall and Korody would have been able to accomplish their alleged plot without the support and guidance of the police. He criticized the operation's primary undercover officer as playing a heavy-handed role in guiding the accused.

"He'd frequently lead Nuttall and Korody down a path. When they took the bait he'd step back and say, 'Well it's up to you. It's your decision, not mine,'" said Jette.

"This was the man with everything … and he was prepared to guide, support, babysit and coddle these two former street people — methadone-dependent drug addicts surviving on social assistance."

Crown lawyer Peter Eccles dismissed those claims in his final arguments to the jury, saying all that mattered was whether the couple carried out the act.

Eccles told the jury that Nuttall and Korody were fully aware they were getting involved with what they believed were high-ranking terrorists.

Their lawyers told the jury earlier that the pair was manipulated and pressured by undercover officers to come up with a viable plan.

"You don't get to raise the devil then complain when he misbehaves," Eccles told the jury. "It doesn't work that way."

He refuted defence's argument that Nuttall and Korody intended only to cause structural damage to the legislature building by referencing numerous instances in video and audio evidence where they express a desire to kill and maim people.

"If they didn't want to kill why would they set (the bombs' timers) 15 minutes apart?" asked Eccles.

"They wanted to get the first responders. They wanted to get firefighters, ambulance attendants, military personnel and police."

He also argued that the two accused acted for the benefit of a terrorist organization consisting of themselves — which they called al-Qaida Canada — and that they aspired to deliver a political and ideological message to the Western world on behalf of their "twisted and perverted" version of Islam.

"They did exactly what terrorists do," he said.

Eccles is expected to complete his closing submissions on Thursday. After instructions from the judge, the jury could start deliberations as early as Friday.

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