Publication ban: Murder, madness, Magnotta

A publication ban has been placed over the trial of Luka Magnotta. The ban will extend over the length of approximately two weeks while preliminary hearings are being conducted.

Magnotta, 30, was charged with first-degree murder of Lin Jun, 33, in June of last year. He was arrested on June 6 in Berlin and brought back to Montreal. He has been brought up on additional charges for producing and distributing obscene material and desecrating a corpse, as well as harassing Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other members of Parliament.

Luc Leclair, Magnotta’s Toronto-based defense lawyer, made the motion for reporters and media to not be allowed into the courtroom due to the influence their pieces may have on the jury.

On Tuesday, Quebec court judge Lori-Renee Weitzman ruled that the media and the public will be allowed into the preliminary hearing. Although this is not what Leclair was seeking, at his request his client was allowed a publication ban on testimony – which is customary in preliminary hearings.

The preliminary hearings are where key evidence for the case will be presented from both the prosecution and defense.

In attendance at the hearings was Lin Jun’s father, Lin Diran. Twice now, he has had to remove himself and his translator from the proceedings – no one can report why.

The body of Lin was allegedly dismembered by Magnotta and sent by mail to various locations. The headquarters of the Conservative Party in Ottawa received a foot; a hand was found in a postal warehouse addressed to the Liberal headquarters later that day; two schools in Vancouver also received a hand and foot; the torso was found in the trash inside of a suit case; and the head was found in Angrignon Park, Montreal.

The publication ban will be lifted after the two-week period is over and the details of the case will be open to the public and available for print.

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