VANCOUVER – A British Columbia couple’s apparent plan to attack the provincial legislature on Canada Day was still coming together just four days before the national holiday as they sat in a Vancouver-area motel room building bombs, their terrorism trial has heard.
John Nuttall and Amanda Korody had spent months in the spring of 2013 talking through the details of their plot with an undercover RCMP officer who they believed was a sympathetic Arab businessmen.
But by June 27, many details still needed to be sorted out.
Where, exactly, would they plant the bombs? In the middle of the night or during the day? How would they handle any witnesses who spot them coming and going?
And was it even a good idea to execute the plan on Canada Day?
“It would be less risky if we did it a different day, I think,” Nuttall says in a surveillance video played for a jury Tuesday.
“There’s less risk if we,” he continues, before interrupting himself. “But if we do it on Canada Day, that sends a pretty big message. That’s the biggest celebration of tribalism ever.”
The video shows Nuttall, whose head is wrapped in a scarf, sitting at a table tinkering with alarm clocks and pressure cookers. Arabic music plays in the background.
Korody is sitting by herself watching online videos of previous years’ Canada Day celebrations at the legislature in Victoria, noting the movement of the crowds and police.
At one point, the undercover officer shows up to deliver food. Nuttall tells the officer they must decide where they will place the bombs before he can finish the timers, which he is building out of manual alarm clocks.
He suggests they visit the area in the middle of the night and bury the bombs, but worries they would be seen by security guards who roam the legislature grounds.
Nuttall tells the officer that he and Korody will need guns to defend themselves, and he warns that they might have to kill or kidnap a security guard to avoid being detected.
“We’ll tell them, ‘We’ll release him (the guard) if you release Omar Khadr. And you know we’re serious because we just blew up your party.'”
Another option, Nuttall says, would be to stuff the bombs into backpacks and drop them in the crowd, but there are also problems with that idea. Nuttall says a witness might see them or someone might remove the backpacks before they explode.
Korody quickly objects.
“You realize that just dropping backpacks lowers our survivability rate,” she says.
“Yes, but it increases the chance of the operation being a success,” Nuttall replies.
The jury has watched hours of video featuring the couple interacting with the undercover police officer and each other.
Nuttall and Korody, who were recent converts to Islam, are seen in earlier videos saying they want to stage an attack to respond to the perceived mistreatment of Muslims, particularly at the hands of the Canadian military.
The Crown has told jurors that they will eventually see evidence depicting Nuttall and Korody placing bombs on the lawn of the legislature early in the morning on July 1, 2013, hours before Canada Day celebrations are scheduled to begin. The RCMP ensured the bombs were inert and could not explode, the Crown has said.
Nuttall and Korody have both pleaded not guilty.