Quebec Judge Rejects Closed Courtroom at Magnotta Hearing

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March 12, 2013 // Trial News

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.

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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.

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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.”

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