VANCOUVER – An elaborate RCMP sting operation removed every conceivable obstacle hindering the violent ambitions of a man accused of plotting to blow up the B.C. legislature, a court has heard.
John Nuttall’s defence lawyer Marilyn Sandford accused an undercover officer in court on Monday of providing John Nuttall with the money, the expertise and the spiritual guidance to enable him to carry out his terrorist act.
Concluding her cross-examination of the Crown’s key witness, Sandford presented a laundry list of ways in which she believed the police had supported Nuttall.
That included: promising Nuttall his debts would be paid, assuring him that sharpshooters stationed on the legislature roof would keep him safe during the operation, encouraging him to believe he would escape and guaranteeing him employment after he’d carried out the attack.
“You attempted to overcome Mr. Nuttall’s reservations and concerns about committing acts of violence by dispensing advice to him in the role of a quasi-spiritual advisor — somebody he could look up to who knew about Islam,” Sandford put to the undercover officer, whose identity is protected by a publication ban.
“No,” he replied. “I think you’re wrong there.”
The officer did agree that he had misled Nuttall by suggesting his cat would be taken to a good, Muslim home, though he disagreed with Sandford’s accusation that his relationship with Nuttall played any role in the actions of the accused.
“You knew from the very early stages of this investigation that John Nuttall had grown to love and fear you,” Sandford told the officer.
“(He) was motivated, you knew, to do whatever he needed to do and whatever he needed to say in order to please you.”
Nuttall and his wife and co-accused Amanda Korody have each pleaded not guilty to four terrorism-related charges for allegedly plotting to set off pressure-cooker bombs on the B.C. legislature grounds on Canada Day 2013.
The officer also denied the RCMP bought groceries and cigarettes for Nuttall and Korody in order to make money available from their welfare cheques to purchase bomb-making equipment.
“You were freeing up money that they could then use to buy kettle pressure cookers, etc.,” said Sandford.
The officer said that wasn’t their intent.
RCMP instructions expressly forbid the officer from using police money to buy any of the tools or components required to build the pressure-cooker devices. Although the officer did confirm that police provided Nuttall with wire clippers to finish constructing the explosives.
“We wanted to see how committed and how involved Mr. Nuttall was,” said the officer, who promised Nuttall he would provide him with a half pound of C4 plastic explosive if he took care of the rest.
“He spent to his last cent to buy everything he needed to make the bombs,” he said.
— Follow @gwomand on Twitter