VANCOUVER — A British Columbia man found guilty of masterminding a terrorist bomb plot boasted to an undercover officer about how many people he had converted to radical Islam, a court has heard.
Covert surveillance footage played in B.C. Supreme Court on Monday showed John Nuttall telling a man he believed to be a fellow Muslim extremist of his success in recruiting other jihadis.
“I took a brother out of the jails and off of the streets and turned him into a mujahed (holy warrior),” Nuttall said, pictured sitting in the passenger seat of a vehicle dressed in an ill-fitting suit.
“That’s two now. Three if you include my wife.
“’We’re all going to taste death,’ says Allah,” added Nuttall. “Is there any better way to die than in a way that propagates Islam? … What better way is there to die?”
Nuttall and his common-law partner Amanda Korody were found guilty last June by a jury of plotting to blow up the provincial legislature during Canada Day celebrations three years ago. The convictions are on hold while their lawyers argue they were entrapped by the RCMP.
Prosecutor Peter Eccles said outside court that the Crown will use video footage, audio recordings and police notes to dispute the defence entrapment argument, showing that Nuttall and Korody posed a threat to society before they were ever targeted in a police sting.
“We’re filling in the last pieces of the jigsaw puzzle,” Eccles said outside the courtroom.
Defence counsel finished its case on Monday, arguing that without the Mounties’ involvement their clients would never have attempted to carry out a terrorist attack.
In Canada, the question of entrapment is heard by a judge, not a jury, because the issue is considered a question of law.
Video shown in court on Monday also showed Nuttall pleading with the same undercover officer to find him a handgun as a “gesture of trust,” right after he described feeling murderous rage toward an American soldier he’d met who insulted Islam.
“I wanted to put a gun to his head and right before I pulled the trigger I wanted to say, ‘Taste what you used to deny,’ and send him straight to the hell-fire,” Nuttall said, stroking his wiry, grey-tinged goatee.
“I had my marble gun. I could have just pulled it out and put it to his head but (two other people) were in the back seat and I didn’t have enough bullets to take them all out.”
Crown is expected to play about four hours of intercept evidence that wasn’t viewed by jury members during last year’s trial.
Last week Nuttall and Korody’s lawyers abandoned efforts to force Canada’s spy agency to hand over secret documents related to a covert investigation into the pair.
Attempts to access the confidential information were moving too slowly through the Federal Court and there was no end in sight, said the couple’s legal counsel outside court.
Nuttall and Korody were arrested on July 1, 2013, following an elaborate RCMP sting operation in which officers posed as Muslim extremists.
B.C. Supreme Court Justice Catherine Bruce, who was the trial judge, is also hearing entrapment arguments in the case.
Proceedings are expected to last another several days before the court adjourns until closing statements in June.