VANCOUVER - Just days ahead of an alleged bomb plot, a British Columbia man grew fearful that he and his wife would be forced to "take the fall" if they became a liability to an Arab businessman they believed was helping them carry out their planned Canada Day attack, their trial has heard.
In a video played at the couple's terrorism trial Monday, John Nuttall confides in his wife, Amanda Korody, that he believe they could be killed by shadowy figures up the chain of command. By the time the video was recorded on June 28, 2013, Nuttall and Korody had spent months interacting with the businessman, who was actually an undercover RCMP officer.
"His third contingency plan is ditch us, we're expendable, save himself," Nuttall tells his wife as they are holed up in a motel near Vancouver to build bombs out of pressure-cookers.
"If we don't have these done, there's a good chance we will be killed or set up. Do you understand? ... Someone's gotta take the fall. It's not gonna be him, OK?"
Nuttall and Korody, recent converts to radical Islam, had no idea they were being videotaped by police in the weeks leading up to their arrest in July 2013. They are each charged with four terrorism-related offences.
The Crown's theory is that the pair planned to detonate bombs outside the legislature in Victoria as vengeance for what they perceived to be the mistreatment of Muslims overseas.
Their defence lawyers have asked the jury to pay close attention to the role the RCMP played in the alleged plot.
During the six-hour video recording, the couple is seen brainstorming about which targets to attack, praying on their knees for strength and assembling the bombs.
They banter back and forth about their motivations — jihad or justice — provide each other encouragement and excitedly discuss painting their faces red and white to disguise themselves on Canada Day.
But Nuttall grows agitated as he messes about with glue, an electric drill, scissors and various parts of three pressure-cookers over a large table. Hours earlier, the officer told Nuttall he needed the bombs finished by morning to be ready to meet another associate who would provide explosives.
Nuttall suggests the undercover officers will simply point the finger at him if the plan falls apart.
"They can say, 'Well, it was Yahya who did it, he did it on his own'" Nuttall says, referring to himself by his self-proclaimed Arabic name. "I just figured this out, OK? Just today."
In conversation that is rambling and often confuses the meaning of words, Nuttall tells Korody he believes they are part of a wide network whose tentacles stretch to the terror group al-Qaida.
He informs her that he believes they are only privy to the nearest contact in the chain. His theory is that if their plot is discovered and authorities move in to torture them, each of them can only give up one or two names.
Nuttall asserts that for protection Korody must always keep two items on her at all times: $40 and a knife. There are audible sounds of retching from off-screen by Korody, who is believed to be vomiting. The trial has heard she suffered from severe stomach problems.
"Soldier, on your feet," Nuttall calls to his wife. "I need you now. I hope you're not just sitting on the edge of the toilet or something."
Later in the video, Nuttall paces the room while speaking into a cell phone and addressing his main undercover contact.
The call goes dead and he tells his wife that the next day they will meet the businessman's associate, who is apparently coming from Alberta.
The Crown has told the jury the man was actually another undercover officer and that the RCMP ensured the bombs were inert.
Nuttall and Korody both pleaded not guilty.