By James Keller, The Canadian Press
Vancouver: A couple accused of plotting to attack British Columbia’s legislature on Canada Day considered backing out with just hours to go, but with the bombs ready and powerful associates expecting them to follow through, they concluded it was too late, their trial heard Monday.
John Nuttall and Amanda Korody, who are now on trial for terrorism-related offences, were captured by a hidden RCMP video camera in a hotel room on Vancouver Island on the evening of June 30, 2013. In just a few hours, they expected to drive an hour south to Victoria to plant homemade pressure-cooker bombs on the legislature lawn.
In the video, Nuttall becomes increasingly agitated as he complains that an Arab businessman and his accomplices, all undercover RCMP officers, have pressured them to rush their attack even though they aren’t ready.
“Maybe we shouldn’t do it then,” says Nuttall.
“Except now we got two bombs in his (the Arab businessman’s) possession that are attached to timers and something is going to happen to them,” replies Korody.
“We have no options,” says Nuttall. “We have no way out. We have to do it.”
The trial has watched several videos in which the Arab businessman tells Nuttall and Korody they could stop at any time. Most recently, before leaving a Vancouver-area motel for the ferry to Vancouver Island earlier on June 30, the officer offered to turn the car around and take them home.
In the hotel video, Korody says the officer might have allowed her to leave, but she says Nuttall would have still had to continue on to Victoria.
However, Nuttall’s main concern appears to be that the attack is poorly planned because they weren’t able to take their time to make it better. Earlier, he blamed the officer for forcing them to set off bombs in the morning, when the legislature will be mostly filled with event staff, rather than targeting crowds gathered to watch the evening fireworks.
The Arab businessman spent months with the couple, building their trust and offering to help as they developed the plan. Defence lawyers have urged the jury to pay close attention to just how involved the RCMP were in the plot.
Nuttall tells Korody the officer had already spent thousands of dollars to help them _ an estimate that didn’t even include the explosives, which Nuttall says would have been very expensive and extremely difficult to obtain.
Nuttall and Korody have grown suspicious of their mysterious associates. Nuttall even wonders _ correctly, it turns out _ whether he and Korody have been caught in a police sting.
“It’s like they’re cops or something,” he says. “They really want us to hurry up and drop this stuff off so they can arrest us.”
Nuttall also makes it clear that he wants to ensure they don’t target children.
Canada Day festivities are scheduled to begin the following day at noon with a “kids’ zone” on the legislature lawn, and Nuttall says he wants to bombs to detonate two hours before that starts.
“The kids show up at 12 o’clock,” says Nuttall.
“I’m not killing no kids. Not unless I have to. … That’s not what’s going to happen.”
Earlier in the day, Nuttall settles on carrying out the attack between 9 and 10 a.m.
While he acknowledges setting off the bombs so early means most of the victims will be workers preparing for the day’s events, he then suggests two explosions separated by 10 or 15 minutes.
“That way one goes off, then all the police arrive and ambulances and everything and fire trucks and then the other one goes off and bam _ we kill them with that,” he says in an audio recording played for the jury.
“Everything is going to be there. Helicopters, the army, fire. Everything.”
Nuttall and Korody have both pleaded not guilty to four terrorism-related charges.
© 2015 The Canadian Press
By James Keller, The Canadian Press