VANCOUVER — Lawyers for a pair of B.C. terrorists have been granted access to secret documents from Canada’s spy agency in a process so guarded the judge was supervised on Thursday as she reviewed the confidential material.
B.C. Supreme Court Justice Catherine Bruce ordered the Canadian Security Intelligence Service to hand over the redacted versions of nine documents of correspondence the agency had with the RCMP’s terrorism investigation.
The lawyers representing John Nuttall and Amanda Korody have argued police manipulated their clients into planning to bomb the Victoria legislature on Canada Day two years ago.
Nuttall’s lawyer Marilyn Sandford said earlier there was evidence someone may have been involved as an informant in a separate CSIS investigation, which she argued would be of extreme relevance to the question of entrapment.
Bruce was provided in court with a version of both the redacted and unredacted documents, and concluded that in one instance a single section of the omitted text could be important to the case.
“I have found a redacted passage in the material produced to me confidentially by CSIS meets the test of ‘likely relevant,'” she said.
“I have marked that passage with a red sticky tab,” she added, before handing back the classified binder.
That section will not be released to the defence pending CSIS’s right to apply to federal court for an exemption under national security laws.
Nuttall and Korody were found guilty in June of plotting to detonate pressure-cooker bombs at the provincial legislature on July 1, 2013.
The court heard earlier that the couple — recovering drug addicts living off welfare in a basement suite — had previously converted to Islam and were eager to avenge what they saw as the mistreatment of Muslims overseas.
On Thursday, Department of Justice lawyer Donnaree Nygard gave Bruce a warning before handing over the CSIS documents for her review.
“Any notes that you make in relation to the confidential information are going to have to go back to CSIS in a sealed envelope.”
“I’m not going to provide CSIS with my notes,” asserted Bruce, frowning from behind the bench.
“As long as they don’t refer to the content in any way that’s fine,” replied Nygard.
A roll of red tape could be seen as the CSIS document custodian snapped open a large, black briefcase and passed over two thick binders and a bundle of papers.
Nygard explained that after Bruce reviewed the documents that they would be sealed and kept in CSIS custody in the event of a future appeal.
“I understand the tape that does this sealing is very horrible to deal with, so what I would suggest is that your ladyship puts the documents in the envelopes and the document custodian who’s here today will actually apply the red tape in front of you,” Nygard told the judge. “Apparently it’s not pleasant stuff to deal with.”
The public won’t be informed about what the documents say until they’re presented in court.
The entrapment trial is scheduled to continue in mid-October with testimony from several police officers.
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Geordon Omand, The Canadian Press