On Wednesday, the British Columbia Court of Appeal upheld a stay of proceedings against a BC couple accused of a 2013 plot to plant pressure cooker bombs at the provincial legislature grounds on Canada Day. A jury convicted the pair of terrorism-related offences in 2015, but the trial judge ordered a stay of proceedings, finding that the accused were entrapped by the RCMP.
Madam Justice Bennett, writing for the Court, found that the trial judged had erred on certain issues, but upheld the stay of proceedings on the basis of entrapment. The Court agreed with her finding that police instigated and took ownership of the plan to use pressure cooker bombs, and ultimately dictated the time and date of the plot, as well as the placement of the bombs. It also held that the trial judge did not err in finding that the accused were not capable of building functional timers to detonate the devices without considerable assistance from the police.
Ultimately, the Court found no fault with the assessment that police conduct went beyond a mere investigation, and that the RCMP manufactured the crime and were primary actors in its commission. Justice Bennett wrote that “police do not have a free hand to do whatever they wish in order to investigate crime, even serious crime”, and that the overall conduct of the investigation was a “travesty of justice.”
The Crown will have 60 days to decide whether it will appeal the decision to the Supreme Court of Canada, but it did not immediately announce whether it plans to do so.
This blog post was written by a CCLA-PBSC RightsWatch student. Views expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCLA or PBSC.