VANCOUVER - A British Columbia terrorism suspect was skeptical the provincial legislature was the best place to target with pressure-cooker bombs on Canada Day, but he appeared to change his mind after touring the area with an undercover RCMP officer, his trial heard Thursday.
The trial for John Nuttall and his wife Amanda Korody listened to an audio recording in which Nuttall worries there will be no one at the legislature to be killed if they detonated their homemade bombs at around 9 or 10 a.m. on July 1, 2013.
But Nuttall becomes more enthusiastic after the undercover officer shows him bushes where the bombs could be hidden and his wife assures him the attack will send a political message.
"That's the capital building, that's the legislature. OK?" says Nuttall. "You destroy that, it's the same as destroying the White House. It's the equivalent of Canada's White House."
The exchange took place on the evening of June 30 and was captured by a recording device worn by the officer, who was posing as an Arab businessman.
In the recording, the officer drives the couple around downtown Victoria as they check out potential targets, including banks and apartment buildings.
At one point, Nuttall suggests planting the bombs near an office building.
"At nine o'clock in the morning, everyone'll be there for work," he says. "Kind of like the World Trade Centre, you know? Everyone had just gotten to work."
"Don't forget, tomorrow there is no work," the officer reminds him. "It's Canada Day. That's why you chose to do it on Canada Day."
Frustrated, Nuttall says he wishes they could postpone by two days to spend more time check out locations. But the group pushes on, and eventually Nuttall suggests they drive toward the legislature lawn.
He says the couple's original plan was to detonate bombs on the lawn at night, when he estimated tens of thousands of people would be gathered to watch the Canada Day fireworks.
But the pair had since abandoned that plan, instead scrawling a list of downtown Victoria locations on a notepad.
Nuttall and his wife had recently assembled the pressure-cooker bombs in a Vancouver-area motel room, before being introduced to another officer who said he had access to C-4 explosives.
The undercover officer posing as an Arab businessman had told the couple he stuffed the C-4 inside the bombs and arranged timers to go off a few hours after they are planted at 5 a.m. on July 1.
When Nuttall says no one will be outside the legislature in the morning, the officer notes there is a pancake breakfast scheduled.
"That's like old senior citizens and stuff," Nuttall complains. "Nobody goes to the pancake breakfast."
The Mountie then shows Nuttall some bushes on the front lawn where the bombs could be hidden.
The Crown has previously said the bombs were rendered inert and would not have exploded.
Nuttall asks his wife what message they will send if they attack the legislature.
"That people want to destroy the government," she replies.
He begins to embrace the idea, saying that people will talk about the attack "forever."
"Books will be written about it. OK?" says Nuttall.
Nuttall later decides that he wants to place the bombs in bushes that are directly against the walls of the legislature, rather than the ones on the front lawn the Mountie had suggested.
After making a trip to Wal-Mart to buy dark-coloured hoodies, the group heads back to the legislature to check out the targets again.
Nuttall says his priority now is to destroy the building.
"If we were doing this at night time, then I would (place them on the lawn), because then I would get maximum kills," he says. "But... people will be more sympathetic to the Muslim plight if we just attacked the government and not the people."
Both Nuttall and Korody have pleaded not guilty to four terrorism-related charges.
B.C. TERROR SUSPECT THOUGHT PLOT WOULD 'CHANGE WORLD,' DESPITE LACK OF TARGET
VANCOUVER - A B.C. man said he thought his alleged plot to detonate pressure-cooker bombs in Victoria on Canada Day in 2013 would "change the world," even as he struggled to pick a target.
The trial for John Nuttall and his wife Amanda Korody has heard that the couple still hadn't chosen where they would place their homemade bombs, less than 24 hours before the attack was set to unfold.
In a video played in court, an undercover officer posing as an Arab businessman pleads with the pair in a Vancouver Island hotel room to pick a location.
The officer asks Nuttall what he hopes to accomplish and Nuttall responds that he's trying to change the world and incite anger against the Canadian government.
Nuttall also says he wants to create "shock and awe" by killing hundreds of people, comparing his attack to the bombing of Baghdad during the Iraq War.
Both Nuttall and Korody have pleaded not guilty to four terrorism-related charges.
UNDERCOVER COP GAVE B.C. TERROR SUSPECTS CHANCE TO ABANDON ALLEGED PLAN: TRIAL
VANCOUVER - A British Columbia couple turned down a last-minute chance to abandon their alleged plan to bomb the provincial legislature on Canada Day, their trial heard Wednesday.
But with the alleged attack less than a day away, John Nuttall also raised questions about killing innocent people and asked to speak with a spiritual leader — a suggestion an undercover RCMP officer, who was posing as an Arab businessman, quickly brushed aside.
The jury heard audio recorded on June 30, 2013, as the officer drove Nuttall and his wife, Amanda Korody, to a ferry terminal on their way to Victoria.
During the drive, the Mountie offers to turn the car around and take them home, but Nuttall and Korody decline.
"Go to the ferry, brother," Nuttall replies firmly.
Nuttall then addresses Korody, who had earlier expressed fears about carrying out the attack. Nuttall tells his wife he could give her the house key and she could go home.
"I'm not making you do this, you don't have to," Nuttall says.
"I know," Korody says softly, repeating that she wants to stay.
"You mean more than the whole world and everything in it to me," says Nuttall. "What you wanna do is something that most brothers won't even do."
Later, as the ferry docks on Vancouver Island, Nuttall pleads with the officer for a chance to speak with a spiritual leader and says he wishes he could go to a local mosque to ask an imam for his opinion.
"I want to make Allah happy and pleased with me, but I don't know if — I hope he's not gonna be angry at me for what I'm about to do," Nuttall can be heard telling the officer.
"(Allah) says ... if you kill an innocent man, it's like you killed all of humanity. So, is it like, anyone caught in this blast, is it because they're not innocent and they're guilty of something?"
Nuttall adds he knows he will kill innocent people but he wants to change the way Canada treats Muslims. Maybe, he suggests, the government will "bring our soldiers back" and stop supporting Israel.
The officer replies that it's not possible to speak with a spiritual leader in time. He says Allah knows what's in Nuttall's heart, and that in Islam, imams are no higher than individual members of the faith.
"That's why Islam is great," says the officer. "Because nobody's better, we're all human beings, we all make mistakes. The only greatness is to Allah."
Even though Nuttall had asked on earlier occasions to speak with a spiritual leader, the officer testified that he never tried to put Nuttall in touch with one because he didn't believe that was his job.
Nuttall and Korody had spent several days shopping for supplies and then assembling pressure cooker bombs in their motel room. The couple then met another officer who agreed to provide them with C-4 explosives.
In the latest recording played in court, the officer posing as the Arab businessman promised the couple he put more than a kilogram of explosives in each bomb. The couple believed the bombs were being transported separately to Victoria.
In fact, the officer testified that he took the pressure cookers to an RCMP detachment, where they were handled by an explosives team. The Crown has previously said the bombs were rendered inert and could not explode.
At one point, Nuttall and Korody discuss their plans to plant the bombs at around 5 a.m., with detonation between 9 and 10 a.m. The officer tells them they will stay at a safe house for three days after the explosions.
But the couple has yet to decide on a target, after compiling a list of possible locations around Victoria and discussing blowing up a skyscraper.
Both Korody and Nuttall have pleaded not guilty to four terrorism-related charges.