Did $90K from RCMP sway would-be B.C. terrorists?
An undercover operation designed to catch two would-be terrorists planting pressure bombs on the B.C. Legislature in 2013 spent tens of thousands of dollars on vans, ferry fares and other expenses, a local advocacy group has learned.
After a two-and-a-half-year battle, the B.C. Freedom of Information and Privacy Association discovered that a total of $90,000 was spent – an astronomical amount to John Nuttall and Amanda Korody, who were then impoverished drug addicts living in Surrey. The money was also one of the factor in why the convictions were overturned at court.
“They were getting trips, clothes and food because they were starving. We thought – how much coin went their way?” said executive director Vincent Gogolek.
The answer, according to a letter the organization received from the RCMP this week, was $90,454.37.
“This includes the expenses for goods and services provided to the accused,” Mounties said.
Even a fraction of that would be a big deal to someone on welfare, Gogolek said.
“If someone doubled your annual income, that would make a significant change to your lifestyle, especially if you were just hanging on,” he said.
That, combined with the already-disclosed $911,090.54 overtime bill, pushes the cost of the case to more than $1 million.
Nuttall and Korody were convicted of terrorism charges for their plot to plant pressure cooker bombs near the Canada Day celebration in Victoria. Videos disclosed at court show much of the investigation, with the Nuttall musing broadly about plans from a rocket attack to C4.
Through it all, the pair are accompanied by an RCMP officer, who provided a van, ferry fares, hotel rooms, and access to materials to make the timers and pressure cooker bombs the pair eventually built.
At trial, Justice Catherine Bruce released a stinging judgment that concluded the inducements provided by the officers amounted to luring the pair to commit a criminal offense.
“The world has enough terrorists, we do not need the police to create more,” she said.
“This was not a situation in which the police were attempting to disrupt an ongoing criminal enterprise; rather, the offenses committed by the defendants were brought about by the police and would not have occurred without their involvement. By any measure, this was a case of police-manufactured crime.”
Crown lawyers attempted to poke holes in the judgement at an appeal hearing today. Chris Greenwood said Bruce had made serious errors of fact that undermined her findings about whose plot it was.
“This is not a police strategy made out of whole cloth, this is something that Nuttall brought to the police,” he said.
The public should have known about how much money police were spending on this case a lot sooner, Gogolek said.
“We need to know how much this is costing. This is a prime example of how this can get out of control,” he said.