There are times I begin to wonder if the RCMP is more about publicity than justice. The arrests of John Nuttall and Amanda Korody after a Mr. Big sting operation were clearly the result of entrapment. BC Supreme Court Justice Catherine Bruce’s ruling to stay the terrorism charges against the gullible couple was eminently fair and clear sighted. That the Crown is now pursuing an appeal of that ruling is an abuse of taxpayer funds and the judicial process.
Once again, we are faced with the profound limitations of the Mr. Big sting operation and the unusual myopia of the Canadian judicial system that has allowed it, albeit with some restrictions. First of all, in my view, the entire operation in this case was used to burnish the RCMP’s reputation in counter-terrorism. They chose a pair of unwitting targets to set off a dud bomb in a public space during a holiday celebration and gave them what appeared to be the equipment to do it. Could Nuttall and Korody have done this on their own? Would they have done this on their own? Justice Bruce’s decision strongly implied that the answer to both questions is “NO”. The sting feeds on ignorance. The police officers masquerade as either gangsters or international criminals, causing the targets to fear retribution if they fail to confess to a crime or follow through on nefarious plans. It’s a simple as that.
Now, the RCMP will make great claims about the success of the sting, but wrongly convicted people are, unless released, considered to be a part of this great success. That the Crown is appealing the judgment has nothing to do with protecting the public from terrorism and everything to do with protecting the RCMP from ongoing criticism.
Where is the RCMP when it comes to solving the murders of aboriginal women; when it comes to arresting radical religious elements and drug dealers responsible for “targeted” shootings cross the lower mainland? The public is far more endangered by this spree of murders than by crypto-terrorists ensnared by Mr. Big. Just this weekend (January 13), two innocent people were wounded, one critically (a fifteen year old boy) in a targeted shooting on Broadway and Ontario St. in Vancouver.
Sebastian Burns and Atif Rafay continue to sit in a Washington State prison, the result of this very flawed sting operation. Consideration given to real suspects was superficial at best. The RCMP seems too comfortable when its officers are not wearing the garb of police. I sincerely hope that the appeals court rules to uphold Justice Bruce’s wise decision.