Judge: Media allowed in Canada body parts hearing
MONTREAL (AP) — A judge denied a defense motion Tuesday to bar the public and media from a hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to proceed to trial in the case of Canadian porn actor accused of dismembering his Chinese lover and mailing the body parts to political parties and schools. However, a publication ban on testimony and evidence presented during the hearing remained.
Luka Magnotta has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the slaying and dismemberment of Jun Lin last May. Police accused Magnotta of killing the university student and posting a video online that shows him stabbing and having sex with the dismembered corpse. The case drew worldwide attention when Lin’s body parts were mailed to the headquarters of two of Canada’s political parties. Magnotta was arrested in Europe after an international manhunt.
Preliminary hearings in Canada can be subject to an automatic publication ban if the defense requests it. Magnotta’s legal team also sought to have the public and media barred from attending Tuesday’s hearing at all, arguing it would prejudice a jury. But Quebec court Judge Lori-Renee Weitzman denied the request.
Michel Bourque, the primary detective in the case, took the stand Tuesday but his testimony was subject to the publication ban.
Magnotta, 30, sat in the prisoner’s box with his arms folded. An interpreter has been stationed near him to translate testimony into English.
A decision on whether to proceed to trial could take several weeks.
The case became known when a package containing a severed foot was found at Canada’s ruling Conservative Party headquarters May 29. That same day, a hand was discovered at a postal facility, addressed to the Liberal Party of Canada. The torso of the 33-year-old Lin was found in a suitcase at a garbage dump outside Magnotta’s apartment building in Montreal.
About a week later, a missing foot and hand were found mailed to two schools in Vancouver. Police said notes were included in most of the packages but declined to say what they said.
Magnotta spent a few days partying in Paris before moving on to Berlin, where he was caught as he read stories about himself at an Internet cafe.
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