VANCOUVER (July 29, 2016) – Today, the B.C. Civil Liberties Association reacted to a B.C. Supreme Court ruling that the RCMP entrapped two Surrey residents who were convicted of placing a bomb at the Victoria legislature on Canada Day in 2013.
In a hard-hitting judgment, B.C. Supreme Court justice Catherine Bruce determined that the RCMP had manufactured and for the most part carried out the crime. John Nuttall and Amanda Korody were freed today after serving 3 years of prosecution and pre-trial custody.
Madam Justice Bruce found that it was “farcical” for the RCMP to perceive that the couple posed a threat to national security. The couple were impoverished with little formal education and struggling with substance abuse and mental health challenges. They had no pre-existing plans to carry out a terrorist plot, had taken no steps to carry out a plot, and were not in contact with any known terrorists or terrorist organizations. In fact, RCMP officers involved in the undercover operation frequently expressed exasperation over the couple’s utter lack of initiative, focus and follow through.
Madam Justice Bruce issued a stay of proceedings, which has the same practical effect as an acquittal. A stay of proceedings is the most drastic remedy a criminal court can order. She determined that the police misconduct was so extreme that further prosecution of the pair would amount to an abuse of process, bringing the justice system into disrepute.
Grace Pastine, Litigation Director for the BCCLA, stated: “The decision is a resounding rebuke of the RCMP’s illegal activities and improper tactics in this investigation. Manipulating and exploiting marginalized people in order to push them to do criminal acts they would be incapable of doing on their own is an affront to democratic freedoms. What is especially troubling is that this costly, cockamamie investigation was seen as a national priority for RCMP headquarters and was watched carefully by very senior officials. There could be no clearer signal that there is an urgent need for enhanced accountability for the RCMP’s national security activities.”
“We are also deeply concerned that the couple appear to have been improperly targeted based on their religious beliefs. There is an unquestionable need to prevent criminal acts of violence, but the RCMP’s investigation did nothing to make Canada safer and their tactics ran counter to our deeply held Canadian values.”