Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Supreme Court judge in B.C. finds RCMP guilty of entrapment

John Nutall and Amanda Karady who were found guilty on terrorism charges in June of 2015 had the verdicts thrown out as a British Columbia Supreme Court Justice found that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) were guilty of entrapment.

The couple thought that they were planting pressure-cooker bombs to kill and maim crowds gathered at the B.C. legislature on Canada Day three years ago. However, the plot was not their idea and police operatives convinced them that it was a better plan than those the couple suggested. The justice even called the terror plan a "police manufactured crime".
Justice Catherine Bruce did not mince words but claimed the RCMP used trickery, deceit, and even veiled threats to ensure that the couple tried to carry out the very terrorist acts of which they were found guilty. In her ruling, she even said:“The world has enough terrorists. We do not need the police to create more. There is clearly a need to curtail the actions of police ... to ensure that future undercover investigations do not follow the same path.”
Bruce said that the RCMP, in a sting lasting months, knowingly exploited the couples' vulnerabilities to ensure they tried to carry out the offense planned by the RCMP themselves. She said the couple was marginalized, socially isolated, and were former heroin addicts dependent upon methadone and welfare to subsist. They were all talk and no action, she said. They were recent converts to Islam.
Bruce maintained that without the involvement of undercover officers the couple would have been unable to articulate, plan and execute the bomb plot. Bruce even claimed that it was the police not the couple who led the plot. The primary undercover officer discouraged the couple from seeking outside spiritual help and convinced them that he was a member of a powerful international terrorist group. He said that the group would likely kill them if they did not follow through with the planned terrorist action. Bruce claimed that the undercover agent was actually the leader and the couple his disciples.
After the verdict, the couple were temporarily re-arrested but later released under a peace bond with strict conditions for up to a year. Bruce had delayed registering the conviction of the couple at the request of their defense lawyers who argued that the RCMP had entrapped their clients. Had the conviction been upheld the couple could have faced a maximum penalty of life in prison. The Crown has filed an appeal of the ruling.
The case is historic in that this is the first time that the entrapment defense has been argued successfully in a terrorism case. The decision means a permanent halt to court proceedings. Although this is not an acquittal or a finding that the person is not guilty, it has a similar result in that those accused can walk free without any criminal record.
There were 240 police officers involved in the sting operation and it included more than 70 hours of surveillance of the couple. Apparently, someone with ties to the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service may have had a role in radicalizing the couple in the first place.

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