Attorney asks for media ban in ‘Canadian Cannibal’ first-degree murder hearing
The lawyer for “Canadian Cannibal” Luka Magnotta was back in action this week, asking the judge to ban the publication of evidence at a preliminary hearing for the first-degree murder case.
Magnotta, 30, is accused of the gruesome murder and dismemberment of Chinese national Lin Jun, a student at Concordia University in Montreal. The case drew international attention because of the disturbing nature of the crime and the subsequent manhunt. Magnotta allegedly mailed Lin’s body parts to schools throughout Canada, and ultimately fled to Europe where he was ultimately captured at an Internet café in Berlin.
Magnotta was charged with first-degree murder as well as defiling Lin’s corpse, mailing obscene material, and harassing Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other politicians.
A preliminary hearing, similar to courts in the United States, is used to determine if there is sufficient evidence to go to trial. These hearings are traditionally open to the public, but that right may be limited in the interests of justice. Magnotta’s attorney however filed a motion February 28 asking Judge Lori Weitzman to have everyone except lawyers and court officials banned from the hearing.
Section 537(1)(h) of the Criminal Code of Canada stipulates that a judge who hears a case under a publication ban may “order that no person other than the prosecutor, the accused and their counsel shall have access to or remain in the room in which the inquiry is held, where it appears to him that the ends of justice will be best served by so doing.”
The preliminary hearing is scheduled to begin March 11, and is expected to last approximately four weeks.
Ryan Kerns, Esq., Wild About Trial
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