RCMP spent more than $1 million on Victoria terror probe

RCMP spent more than $1 million on Victoria terror probe

The RCMP spent more than $1 million on an undercover investigation into the B.C. couple accused of plotting to detonate pressure cooker bombs on the lawns of the legislature on Canada day in 2013, according to documents obtained by the B.C. Freedom of Information and Privacy Association (FIPA).

The latest figure adds just over $90,000 to a previous tally, which found the force spent just over $911,090 in overtime pay over the course of the five-month investigation.

In 2015, Amanda Korody and John Nuttall were convicted of terrorism-related offences, but a B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled last summer that the RCMP manipulated the pair into moving ahead with the attack.

The ruling from Justice Catherine Bruce sharply criticized the RCMP's actions and concluded Korody and Nuttall were not capable of carrying out such an attack on their own.

Filed FOI request

FIPA filed an access-to-information request to find out how much the RCMP spent on Project Souvenir, the name police gave to the probe.

In early 2016, it found the force had spent just over $911,090 in overtime pay over the course of the operation. During the probe, officers posed as jihadi warriors and gave Nuttall and Korody groceries, cigarettes, bus passes, cell phones, even clothing and cash.

They also gave the couple equipment and a place to work on their terrorist scheme.

Last month, FIPA received documents that showed an additional $92,397 was spent on what it calls "goods an services."

FIPA first filed the request back in 2015, when the couple first went on trial.

"It became increasingly clear [during the trial] that the accused were really not capable of doing much on their own. We started to wonder, first of all: how did this get to this point? And second of all: how much did this cost?" said Vincent Gogolek, executive director at FIPA.

"I think it's incumbent of the RCMP to tell us and particularly to tell Canadians how much this [undercover operation] cost."

Total cost unknown

The total amount the RCMP invested in this project is still unclear.

CBC News has reached out to the RCMP for comment, but has not heard back.

Gogolek said he's requested that amount from the RCMP, but said he was told the RCMP doesn't keep track of that information.

"We were pushing for the last two years to find the total cost of this [undercover operation.] We find it hard to believe that the Mounties can't tell us how much this cost," said Gogolek

"This is just one small part of how much it actually cost the taxpayers."

Crown lawyers have appealed the ruling of Justice Bruce, who tossed out the pair's convictions. A hearing for that appeal began on Monday in the B.C. Court of Appeal.