A document released late last night shows Luka Magnotta was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia as a teenager.
A Toronto judge approved the release of the document concerning Magnotta’s medical history.
The letter was submitted as evidence when Magnotta was facing fraud charges in 2005. At the time, he was going by his birth name — Eric Clinton Newman.
The letter was from a Toronto-area psychiatrist who had been treating him for five years.
The psychiatrist said he knew of two recent occasions when Newman was admitted to hospital as an inpatient.
Media fought to make document public.
The letter was released after several media outlets fought for it to be made public.
A Globe and Mail reporter had been trying to obtain the letter, a public document, since July, but was rebuffed in several attempts.
Various media outlets then joined together to hire counsel to make arguments to a judge for the letter’s release.
Magnotta’s lawyer Luc Leclair tried to stop the letter from becoming public, but Ontario Court Judge Fergus O’Donnell ruled Tuesday afternoon that it should be released.
In his ruling, O’Donnell said the document does contain sensitive and personal medical information, but any privacy interest was forgone when the letter was filed in open court.
In 2005, Magnotta was prescribed five different medications, including two antipsychotic drugs, Seroquel and Risperdal, to treat his disorder. He was also prescribed an anti-anxiety medication, a night sedative and a drug to counteract unwanted side-effects from his antipsychotic medication.
“Without access to the letter, the public is not in a position to engage in a meaningful assessment or debate over the appropriateness of what happened to Mr. Newman in 2005 in what is supposed to be an open and transparent court process,” O’Donnell wrote.
A top confidante to Prime Minister Stephen Harper testified at a preliminary hearing for accused killer Luka Magnotta as it wrapped up Thursday before a two-week break.
Several witnesses came from Ottawa to testify including Jenni Byrne, who has served the prime minister in senior roles in his office and in the Conservative party.
Magnotta, accused of first-degree murder in the killing and dismemberment of engineering student Jun Lin, has pled not guilty to all charges and chose trial by jury.
Magnotta is facing five counts including the murder charge: committing an indignity to a body, publishing obscene material, criminally harassing Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other members of Parliament, and mailing obscene and indecent material.
Byrne, who is now the director of political operations for the federal Conservative party, testified in a Montreal courtroom as the hearing entered its ninth day. She delivered her account matter-of-factly, with no display of emotion.
Magnotta, meanwhile, sat impassively and listened. He was shackled and seated in his fortified prisoner’s box in the high-security courtroom … Evidence presented at the preliminary hearing is subject to a publication ban. The hearing is to determine whether there is enough evidence to send Magnotta to trial.
Byrne’s brief appearance came as a group of Ottawa-based witnesses testified. They included two Ottawa police officers and a Canada Post inspector.
Witnesses were heard through mid-day Thursday, when the hearing adjourned until April 8. Witnesses from Europe, Vancouver and Montreal are scheduled to be heard after the pause.
Police witnesses have made up the bulk of the two dozen people to testify so far.
The court has also heard from a journalist from the United Kingdom, two Montreal apartment building employees, a number of Canada Post employees and a trio of medical experts.
Magnotta collapsed in court this week after watching video evidence. He has appeared to be wiping away tears at times and has often held his hand to his mouth during testimony.
Both the Crown and the defence told Judge Lori-Renee Weitzman that one more week in April should be enough time to complete the hearing.
The hearings have produced some bizarre twists.
The defence tried to have the public and media barred altogether from the proceedings, but the judge rejected the request.
Then a member of Magnotta’s legal team withdrew from the case after the Crown raised the possibility of a conflict of interest.
The family of the victim has travelled to Montreal for the hearings but has attended them only sporadically.
A family lawyer said Jun Lin’s father, mother and sister have come from China, at considerable cost, in order to honour their relative’s memory and follow the proceedings.
Jun Lin, 33, was his only son.
Lawyers for the Lin family, working pro bono, have attended on their behalf.
Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press
Luka Magnotta’s preliminary hearing will wrap up Thursday with two witnesses from Ottawa before resuming again for a week in April.
For the second day in a row, Magnotta cupped his hand over his mouth, wiped his eyes and glanced only occasionally at a screen on which video evidence was projected. Yesterday, he collapsed in the prisoner’s box at the end of a video.
Wearing an unbuttoned, short-sleeved plaid shirt with a white undershirt and white pants, a shackled and handcuffed Magnotta listened to testimony Wednesday from three Montreal police officers who specialize in extracting digital information from cameras, computers, cellphones and online.
Constable Nadine Paoliello wrapped up her testimony, which was interrupted Tuesday when Magnotta collapsed and the hearing was adjourned for the day. Sgt.-Det. Panagiotis Sarganis, a computer forensic specialist from the Montreal police force, also testified, as did Constable Frank Massa. Several videos were shown throughout the morning.
No details about the evidence can be reported because of a court-ordered publication ban, a normal procedure during a preliminary hearing — a process to determine whether there is enough evidence for the case to go to trial.
Yesterday, Magnotta waved and smiled at a woman sitting in the front row of the packed courtroom, but the woman refused to identify herself to the media or say what her relationship to the accused is.
Witnesses from Vancouver and Europe are to testify by video conference starting April 8, the last week of the preliminary hearing.
Luka Magnotta collapsed in court during his preliminary hearing while appearing distraught by the evidence presented against him today.
The notorious suspect in a killing-and-dismemberment case was suddenly lying on his right side, crumpled into a fetal position … Magnotta was still handcuffed and shackled.
“You might want to make room for an ambulance,” the Crown prosecutor, Louis Bouthillier, told the guards outside the courtroom … somebody’s collapsed.
His lawyers came to check in on him, and gazed at Magnotta across the glass-enclosed defendant’s box in the special high-security courtroom where the case is being heard.
The collapse happened while Magnotta took in evidence in the gruesome case, whose content is temporarily subject to a publication ban.
The evidence could be made public, if the case goes to trial.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether Magnotta left the court in an ambulance. What was announced … was that Magnotta would not be back in court for the 2 p.m. afternoon session, and the hearing was suspended for the rest of the day.
He really doesn’t feel well and he’s not able to continue … Magnotta lawyer Luc Leclair told the court.
Judge Lori-Renée Weitzman said they could not continue without Magnotta present and ordered the case suspended until Wednesday morning … Leclair said he believes his client will be fine with a little bit of rest.
During the morning segment, Magnotta had held his hand over his mouth, as if he felt ill. His eyes were closed for much of the session.
The 30-year-old suspect appeared to wipe away tears, behind his glasses, several times. His head remained down while one particular piece of evidence was presented.
About 10 minutes into that part of the hearing, Magnotta turned to the bailiff next to him and asked him to convey a request for a break.
The bailiff raised his finger for permission to speak and asked the judge for a five-minute pause. The judge agreed to an extended break for lunch.
That’s when Luka Magnotta stood up and collapsed to the floor.
The preliminary hearing for Luka Magnotta finished earlier than usual today after the relatively short testimony of six witnesses, including a forensic pathologist, a dentist and a Canada Post employee.
The longest testimony was from Yann Dazé, a forensic pathologist who has participated in 800 autopsies in his career, followed by Catherine Lavallée, a forensic toxicologist who examines organs for traces of drugs, and dentist Sachin Paranjape. The last witness before the lunch break was Marie Josée Perron, a forensic odontologist, who analyzes dental remains.
Magnotta sat in the prisoner’s box today, his eyes closed as documents were shown on a screen. By the afternoon, he was wearing a dark blue ski jacket with the collar pulled up around his neck. At times, he appeared to be dozing off.
Several people, including law students, showed up hours before the courtroom door opened to watch the proceedings, now in its second week. There are only 24 seats available, nine of which are reserved for journalists.
In the afternoon, Tomo Kazu Le, a Canada Post employee, as well as René Tremblay, an assistant manager from a Jean Coutu pharmacy in Côte des Neiges, testified.
Crown prosecutor Louis Bouthillier said he will call five more witnesses from Montreal, as well as some from Ottawa and Vancouver and two from Europe. The preliminary hearing, which is a procedure to determine if there is enough evidence to go to trial, is to last this week as well as the week of April 8.
The media will be able to publicize the evidence and proceedings during the trial.
The janitor who worked at Luka Magnotta’s building when the grisly murder occurred, took the stand at the accused murderer’s preliminary hearing today.
Michael Nadeau appeared somewhat nervous as Crown attorney Louis Bouthillier questioned him.
At one point during the janitor’s testimony, Magnotta’s face turned red and he dabbed his eyes, bowed his head and rested his head on his chin.
A publication ban prevents the media from reporting on the evidence that provoked the reaction from Luka Magnotta.
Evidence by bloodstain analyst Jacinthe Prevost prompted the victim’s father to leave his seat and walk unsteadily out of the packed courtroom, propped up by his lawyer and a translator.
Quebec court Judge Lori-Renee Weitzman watched the scene with an expression of concern, but testimony continued on. Diran Lin returned but he later left the room a second time in tears.
A young man who bears a resemblance to Magnotta has been in the courtroom this week, identifying himself as Kyle from Raleigh, N.C.
The slightly-built, boyish-looking man with sharp features and short brown hair says he drove 1,400 km over three days to watch the hearing.
He sat in the seat closest to Magnotta in the public gallery, gazing at him several times … Luka Magnotta did not return his gaze.
Yesterday, Judge Weitzman asked defence lawyer Luc Leclair and his colleagues to consider the conflict of interest issue. After a break, Leclair only managed to say a few words before falling back into his chair … and seriously now … breaking down in tears.
The judge then ordered bailiffs to clear the courtroom so Leclair could get a grip on himself.
Today … Magnotta dabbed his eyes as a piece of evidence was shown, but it wasn’t clear if the alleged killer actually shed any tears. As a homicide detective made her presentation, Magnotta lifted his hand to one eye, then the other … however, it was difficult to see if his eyes were watering … he later covered his mouth several times during her testimony.
Two Montreal homicide detectives and a police computer analyst took the stand during today’s testimony.
A British journalist who once interviewed Magnotta was surprised to receive a subpoena … Alex West, from the Sun in London, England, spoke to Luka Magnotta in December 2011 while the accused killer was living in Britain, and yesterday he was told … today he would be taking the stand.
Prosecutor Louis Bouthillier asked West a question at which point the witness looked directly at Magnotta when he responded … however, Luka Magnotta didn’t flinch … he looked straight back at him.
Magnotta’s defence team twice showed frustration with Quebec Court Judge Lori-Renee Weitzman. Attorney Luc Leclair objected to a piece of evidence at one point, raising his voice before plopping down in his chair … then later in the afternoon Magnotta’s other lawyer, Pierre Panacchio, appeared to lose patience with the judge during a request … also raising his voice while he abruptly walked away.
Judge Lori-Renee Weitzman has dismissed all of the defence’s motions, and most of their many objections, during the first four days of court ptoceedings.
Luka Magnotta’s legal team will continue with his remaining two lawyers, Toronto-based Luc Leclair and Montreal criminal attorney Pierre Panaccio. His third attorney Raphael Feldstein announced he would remove himself from the case after the Crown raised the issue about a possible conflict of interest.
The details of the alleged conflict, as with other evidence being presented during the preliminary hearing, are covered by a publication ban and cannot be reported.
Prosecutor Louis Bouthillier raised what he termed a “somewhat problematic” point of law during mid-morning testimony by Montreal police Sgt.-Det. Antonio Paradiso.
Three members of the Montreal police force took the stand, including a constable and a crime-scene investigator.
Quebec Judge Lori-Renée Weitzman has ruled … the media and the public will be permitted to attend the ongoing preliminary hearing of Luka Rocco Magnotta.
Luc Leclair, Magnotta’s lawyer, argued yesterday that the media and public should be excluded from the courtroom because the high-profile nature of the case, which has made International headlines, could eventually prejudice the jury pool.The media challenged the request, saying that a publication ban is enough to ensure Magnotta gets a fair trial.
Judge Weitzman ruled, the defence team did not prove to her that having the public in the courtroom would infringe on Luka Magnotta’s right to receive a fair trial.
Leclair then asked for the judge to expand the publication ban to prevent the media from describing Magnotta’s demeanour … Judge Weitzman rejected that request too.
Michel Bourque, a major crimes investigator and the lead detective in the case, was the first witness to speak at today’s proceedings. However … the details of his testimony cannot be revealed here as they are subject to a publication ban.
Bourque’s testimony, given in French, was translated by an interpreter into English for Magnotta, who sat with his arms folded and his ankles shackled in the courtroom.
Later a crime-scene technician, Caroline Simoneau took the stand and during a difficult part of testimony … Jun Lin’s father broke down and had to leave the room.
Mark Bantey, a lawyer representing the media at the hearing, told reporters … “I don’t think it’s the court’s role to tell the media what specific elements can be published and cannot be published … The code is clear, it refers to evidence, and that is sufficient.”
More than 600 journalists from around the world have been waiting since four o’clock this morning so they can get a seat in the courtroom to cover today’s hearing. Security is extremely tight, with everyone passing through electronic screening, similar to what is used in major airports.
Magnotta’s lawyers are requesting a full publication and media ban, meaning that the only people that will hear details about this case will be the prosecutors, the judge and a court clerk.
9:45 am – Jun Lin’s father, Diran Lin, who is in court, earlier told the QMI Agency:
“The pain of losing a loving son will never fade. There is nothing to say about Luka Rocco Magnotta … “It is my duty as the father to be there.” However, Jun Lin’s mother and his sister who are also in Montreal, have chosen to stay away from the court proceedings.
The court is told that the hearing will be in English and that Jun Lin’s father will be provided a translator.
10:00 am – Luka Magnotta appears in court … he is wearing a white t-shirt and white trousers. He is shackled and is sitting behind a protective glass screen … Magnotta at first, does not make direct eye contact with anyone.
10:20 am – Magnotta’s lawyer, Luc Leclair, is addressing the court and trying to get a media ban on proceedings. The defence has said the request stems from Magnotta’s past medical and personal history, saying “the ends of justice will be best served by doing so.”
10:35 am – Magnotta is accused of killing Jun Lin and posting a video online that shows him stabbing and having sex with the dismembered corpse. The case drew worldwide attention and sparked an international manhunt when Magnotta fled to Europe.
11:41 am – Global Montreal reporter Domenic Fazioli has said that Magnotta has his eyes closed and is leaning his head against the wall as his lawyer continues to explain why there should be a media ban.
11:53 am – Domenic Fazioli reports: “Looks like judge in Magnotta preliminary inquiry will take rest of the day to rule on media/public ban. Decision tomorrow morning.”
12:37 am – So it appears we won’t be getting a decision today about whether or not there will be a media ban on the preliminary hearing. Quebec Court Judge Lori Renee Weitzman will hear the case over the next four weeks. If it does proceed to trial, a different judge from The Quebec Superior Court will hear the case. Judge Lori Renee Weitzman will spend the rest of the day deciding on the ban, before letting everyone know her decision … which should be tomorrow.
Also noted in the courtroom … there were two young females who appeared to know Luka Magnotta. The first girl said she became friends with Luka when they modelled together in the past. The second girl was the only person Magnotta made eye contact with during the hearing. The second girl and Magnotta waved goodbye to each other … so it does appear they do actually know each other.
There is video coverage of reporting outside the courtroom HERE.
Luka Rocco Magnotta is seen in an artist’s sketch in a Montreal court on Monday, March 11, 2013. A preliminary hearing is set to start for Magnotta, the man charged in connection with the infamous body-parts case that made international headlines.Magnotta’s lawyers want the public and media barred from attending the hearing, which is to determine if there is enough evidence for a trial. – THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mike McLaughlin