RCMP ex­ploited B.C. terror sus­pects: lawyer

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - CANADA - THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

The lead in­ves­ti­ga­tor of an RCMP sting wanted a pair of Bri­tish Columbia ter­ror­ism sus­pects out of their home and away from the dis­trac­tions of drugs and video games to keep them fo­cused on their bomb plot, a court has heard.

Staff-Sgt. Vaz Kas­sam tes­ti­fied that re­mov­ing John Nut­tall and Amanda Korody from “their el­e­ment” would give po­lice a bet­ter as­sess­ment of the cou­ple’s com­mit­ment to threat­en­ing public safety.

“A per­son that is com­mit­ted to some­thing will carry (through) with the sce­nario,” Kas­sam told B.C. Supreme Court on Mon­day. “How­ever, if they’re not mo­ti­vated or they don’t want to do some­thing they’ll say, ‘Look, I’m out,’ or make up ex­cuses.”

Last month, a jury found Nut­tall and Korody guilty of plan­ning to det­o­nate home­made pres­sure­cooker ex­plo­sives on the grounds of the B.C. leg­is­la­ture on Canada Day in 2013.

The sec­ond stage of their trial be­gan Mon­day, with de­fence lawyers ar­gu­ing the RCMP en­trapped the pair through a months-long un­der­cover op­er­a­tion. Korody’s lawyer Mark Jette sug­gested to Kas­sam that po­lice re­moved his client and her hus­band from the house be­cause oth­er­wise “they weren’t mo­ti­vated to do much of any­thing ex­cept play video games.”

“It sounds to me like your as­sess­ment is that if they were at home they were un­fo­cused and un­mo­ti­vated and us­ing drugs but if you got them out of the house you might be able to mo­ti­vate them to do some­thing,” Jette sug­gested.

“I dis­agree,” Kas­sam replied. “I think it’s more of a com­mit­ment level as to how se­ri­ous they are.”

Kas­sam was ap­pointed pri­mary in­ves­ti­ga­tor in charge of the un­der­cover file on June 24, 2013, one week be­fore Nut­tall and Korody were ar­rested.

He tes­ti­fied that when he took over the case the other of­fi­cers ap­peared frus­trated that the sus­pects weren’t mov­ing for­ward with their bomb plot as pre­dicted.

Jette ar­gued that the RCMP ex­ploited Nut­tall and Korody’s vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties, in­clud­ing their drug ad­dic­tion, poverty, so­cial iso­la­tion and sta­tus as re­cent con­verts to Is­lam. He also al­leged po­lice used love, friend­ship, loy­alty, grat­i­tude and fear to ma­nip­u­late the cou­ple.

Nut­tall and Korody were re­cov­er­ing heroin ad­dicts liv­ing on wel­fare in a base­ment suite in Rich­mond, B.C., when po­lice first made con­tact with them.

“Weren’t you con­cerned at all that due to the vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties of these peo­ple as you came to know them that po­lice ac­tions might un­duly in­flu­ence what they did?” Jette asked Kas­sam.

Kas­sam said the av­er­age per­son would not talk about com­mit­ting ji­had, read­ing an al-Qaida-inspired online mag­a­zine or storm­ing a naval base us­ing AK-47 ma­chine guns.

“I be­lieved that posed a risk to public safety and we would be re­miss, the po­lice, if we didn’t do any­thing.”

CP PHOTO

John Nut­tall and Amanda Korody are shown in a still im­age taken from RCMP un­der­cover video.

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