Two Surrey residents accused of plotting to plant pressure cooker bombs outside the B.C. legislature on Canada Day appeared in Surrey Provincial Court Tuesday morning.
John Stewart Nuttall, tall and thin, sported longish hair, a scraggly beard, and tattoos on his right arm.
He carried a copy of the Qur’an – the Muslim holy book – into court and appeared at ease, sometimes smiling.
His wife, Amanda Korody appeared meek and nervous with shoulder-length brown hair. She smiled only upon seeing Nuttall.
The two sat in separate plexiglass prisoner’s boxes during the brief appearance (depicted below, by court artist Felicity Don), where the court heard that the case will be transferred directly to B.C. Supreme Court. The couple is due to appear in court in Vancouver Wednesday.
Nuttall, 38 and Korody, 29, are charged with making or possessing an explosive device, conspiracy to commit an indictable offence, and knowingly facilitating terrorist activity.
B.C. RCMP arrested Nuttall and Korody in Abbotsford on July 1 after a five-month investigation that began in February.
Outside court, Nuttall’s lawyer, Tom Morino, said he has recommended Korody get her own legal counsel.
He said the two have been kept in segregation while in jail – reportedly for their own security – only being allowed out of their cells for an hour a day. Nuttall, Morino said, is being held in Surrey, while Korody is at a Alouette women’s jail in Maple Ridge.
Morino explained that while such a case would normally wind its way through B.C. Provincial Court and eventually end up in B.C. Supreme Court, the Crown has chosen to proceed with direct indictment at the higher court level.
“It doesn’t really change a lot other than it changes the venue,” said Morino.
He said he spoke with Nuttall Monday night for a couple of hours.
“As you can appreciate, anyone in custody is not necessarily overjoyed with the circumstance, but I think he’s doing about as well as can be expected.
“Amanda, I didn’t chat with terribly long because it was my direction to her that she must obtain other counsel so I didn’t want to speak at length with her.”
He said he also spoke to Nuttall’s mother, who he said, like any parent, can’t believe her son was involved in the criminal activities he’s accused of.
Morino said he’ll request tomorrow that the case be adjourned for a couple of months so he can obtain the anticipated “masses” of evidence. He guessed there will likely be several thousand pages of materials.
He said though he hasn’t seen much of the evidence, his understanding is that U.S. authorities were also involved and that there was some sort of “Mr. Big” component, wherein undercover agents pose as criminals to befriend and draw confessions from suspected criminals.
Morino said the pair would not be entering a plea in Vancouver court Wednesday, but said when they do, it will likely be a not-guilty plea.
The alleged homegrown terror plot is similar to that of the Boston Marathon bombers, who used pressure cooker bombs to send shrapnel through the crowd near the race’s finish line on April 15.
RCMP seized what they called three “improvised explosive devices” that were made from pressure cookers that contained nails, bolts, nuts and washers and were placed on the legislative assembly grounds.
The alleged motive of the two accused is not clear.
The legislative lawn and inner harbour were crowded with an estimated 40,000 revelers for the July 1 Canada Day concert and fireworks.
The arrests were made after a joint investigation of the RCMP E Division, the Canadian Border Services Agency and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.
Police said the bombs are believed to have been made in Surrey and at other locations in B.C.
Morino called last week’s police announcement of the charges “over the top,” with the use of terms such as “self-radicalized.”
Last week, civil libertarians questioned police tactics, expressing concern that undercover officers may have interacted with the suspects to advance the bomb plot and provide assistance.
Outside court on Tuesday, Morino said “entrapment is very high hurdle to clear,” but said while it was “safe to assume there was certain elements of that” involved in the investigation of Nuttall and Korody, it remained to be seen whether any of the police activity constitutes the legal definition of entrapment.
The two alleged terrorists lived in a basement suite near 97 Avenue and 120 Street.
The pair’s landlord said Nuttall and Korody were a very nice couple when they moved in two to three years ago.
During their entire time at the home, their furnishings were extremely sparse, the landlord said.
Korody has no prior criminal charges, but Nuttall was convicted of robbery in 2003 in Victoria and received an 18-month conditional sentence.
In March 2010, he was convicted of assault, mischief and possessing a weapon for a dangerous purpose – also in Victoria – and received a 60-day conditional sentence (house arrest) and one year of probation.