VANCOUVER — A British Columbia couple has been found guilty by a jury of plotting to set off handmade pressure-cooker bombs at the provincial legislature on Canada Day two years ago.
The panel convicted John Nuttall and Amanda Korody of conspiracy to commit murder and possession of an explosive substance on behalf of a terrorist group.
Their arrest was the culmination of a months-long RCMP sting operation involving hundreds of officers and countless hours of surveillance.
Here’s a look at a timeline of the undercover operation, according to evidence presented in court:
Feb. 23, 2013
The primary undercover officer involved in the RCMP police sting operation, posing as an Arab businessman, first makes contact with John Nuttall. They reportedly lock eyes in a convenience store near Nuttall’s residence. Two days later the officer approaches Nuttall with a request to help him look for his lost niece. Nuttall allegedly reveals to him that same day of his desire to wage holy war on behalf of Islam.
March 4, 2013
Nuttall delivers an unidentified package from the supposed Arab businessman to a locker in a Vancouver transit terminal. The officer later testifies in court that one of the motives behind this RCMP scenario was to gauge Nuttall’s ability to follow directions from undercover police.
May 5, 2013
The undercover officer drives Nuttall and Korody to Whistler, B.C., so Nuttall can drop off a hard drive to one of the officer’s supposed terrorist associates containing an outline of his alleged plot to hijack a Via Rail passenger train on Vancouver Island. During the drive it quickly becomes apparent that Nuttall has not yet started to work on the document. The three spend several hours in a Whistler parking lot as Nuttall types up an outline. The undercover officer later scolds him for coming up with a poorly researched plan after it’s revealed that the targeted rail line stopped operating years earlier.
June 16 to 19, 2013
Officers set up Nuttall and Korody in a hotel room in Kelowna, B.C., where they are told they can relax and work on their terrorist plot in peace. An officer testified later in court that part of the reason for the trip was to gain access to Nuttall and Korody’s basement suite during their absence. When the primary undercover officer eventually learns Nuttall has made no progress on the plan, he chastises him for not being invested enough in his terrorist plot, calling his actions a “sign of disrespect.”
May 24 to 25
Nuttall and Korody head to Victoria for a reconnaissance mission, to scope out possible targets for their alleged terrorist plot. The trip involves a guided tour of the B.C. legislature, during which Nuttall points out various symbols in the building, including a Star of David in stained glass, which he describes disparagingly as a “Jewish symbol.” They also scope out the Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt for a possible attack.
June 29, 2013
Nuttall and Korody meet with an undercover officer posing as a high-ranking terrorist liaison. The couple is at first unsuccessful at convincing him to provide C4 plastic explosive for the pair to arm their pressure-cooker bombs but he is eventually convinced to help. Nuttall and Korody disguise themselves with head scarves and film a jihadist video, which they intend to have released once their mission is complete. In it they outline their reasons for carrying out the bombing, from waging war against the non-believers to hurting the morale of Canadian troops overseas in countries like Afghanistan.
July 1, 2013
Nuttall and Korody covertly stash sports bags containing their homemade pressure-cooker bombs under bushes flanking the B.C. legislature shortly before 4 a.m. They head to a hotel after taking a ferry back to the B.C. mainland but soon become agitated when news of the explosions doesn’t air on television. The two leave the hotel at 2 p.m., and are immediately arrested by police. Sounds of a struggle are recorded on video.
June 2, 2015
A jury finds Nuttall and Korody guilty of conspiracy to commit murder and possession of an explosive substance on behalf of a terrorist group. In an unusual twist, the conviction won’t be entered until next week, after the defence has a chance to argue that police entrapped the couple during the elaborate sting operation.
The Canadian Press