Two people convicted on terrorism charges were released Friday (July 29) after a judge determined police manipulated them into planting what they thought was a pressure cooker bomb at the B.C. legislature.
The B.C. Supreme Court judge released them, however the Public Prosecution Service is considering an appeal, and at request of RCMP, the pair was re-arrested hours later.
It was only to bring them in and put them under release conditions to keep the peace.
All this just hours after a judge rendered a decision to stay charges, while being extremely critical of police in the case.
Justice Catherine Bruce said Friday police overstepped and used trickery to manipulate the couple in planting what they thought were pressure cooker bombs outside the B.C. legislature in 2013.
“The world has enough terrorists. We do not need the police to create more out of marginalized people,” Bruce said in her landmark ruling Friday.
“The defendants were the foot soldiers but the undercover officer was the leader of the group,” she said.
“Without the police it would have been impossible for the defendants to carry out the pressure-cooker plan.”
Bruce ordered a stay of proceedings, which does not equate to a verdict of not guilty, but the pair will walk free.
Last year, a B.C. Supreme Court jury in Vancouver found the couple guilty of one count each of conspiring to commit murder and possessing explosives for the benefit or on behalf of a terrorist organization.
The 12-member jury began deliberating May 31 and delivered its verdict June 2.
According to the CBC, Nuttall made a heart shape with his fingers toward Korody as the verdict was read in court.
Justice Catherine Bruce did not enter the convictions until the pair’s defence lawyers had the opportunity to argue RCMP officers entrapped Nuttall and Korody during a months-long police sting.
Lawyers for both of the accused argued undercover police officers posing as extremist jihadist sympathizers manipulated and pushed Nuttall and Korody, who are both former heroin addicts with money problems and had recently converted to the Muslim faith.
“The RCMP manufactured this crime, and that is not permissible in our law,” said Nuttall’s lawyer Marilyn Sandford following the verdicts. “We also have arguments that the police themselves committed crimes. They were involved in exactly the same activities as our clients were to a large extent, at least some of them.”
Korody’s lawyer described the entrapment process as where “the rubber hits the road in this case.”
Crown prosecutors maintain the couple knew what they were doing and used the undercover officers – who they believed had legitimate terrorist connections – to obtain explosives, which they used to make pressure cooker bombs similar to those used in the deadly 2013 Boston Marathon attack.
During the trial, which began in February, the jury saw dozens of hours of undercover video showing Nuttall and Korody meeting with the police operative, making plans for the Victoria attack and constructing the bombs – which police ensured were inert – in a Delta hotel room.
“This is going to rock the world,” Nuttall told his wife in one of the videos. “Al-Qaeda Canada – that’s who we are.”
In another video clip, he tells her they can’t “screw up” or their affiliate (the undercover officer) will “turn from a real nice guy to a monster.”
However, on Friday, Bruce criticized police for manipulating Nuttall and Korody, saying they were extremely unsophisticated.