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
While a publication ban on evidence presented during a preliminary hearing is normal, Luka Magnotta’s lawyer has also requested to bar everyone except the judge, the lawyers, and the court clerk from being present in the court room … READ MORE.
Crown Prosecutors and Luka Magnotta’s defence lawyers will meet in a Montreal courtroom this afternoon to iron out the details of Magnotta’s preliminary hearing, which is scheduled to begin just two months from now on March 11th 2013. A shackled Luka Rocco Magnotta remained impassive as he made his first court appearance since last June. The proceedings took place in a high-security courtroom where Magnotta sat throughout in a large prisoner’s box. At the end of the session, Luka then used an intercom phone to speak briefly to his lawyers before being whisked away.
Romeo Salta – I have been advised not to disseminate any further information than what has already been said, especially when it comes to ‘Manny’0
I am going to add this story HERE as I never knew that Luka’s lawyer Luc Leclair had contacted Mr. Salta and requested he not disclose any more information in regards to Manny … does this mean the identity of Manny will come out at the trial?
Luka Rocco Magnotta appeared HERE at court today in person for the first time since arriving from Germany. He was accompanied by his new Lawyer Luc Leclair who did not request a psychiatric evaluation for his client. The judge imposed a publication ban on releasing information about Luka’s medication. In pre-trial meetings they agreed to set a preliminary hearing date of March 11, 2013.
Luka’s defence Pierre Panaccio known for 2004 case involving Hells Angels – Toronto lawyer Luc Leclair will lead the case0
I am a bit suprised Panaccio took this case. I figured it would be a lesser known defense team. Pierre Panaccio is well known for his work defending organized crime figures. He was involved in the 2004 year-long mega trial of members of the Hells Angels HERE.
Today at 2pm Luka Rocco Magnotta pled not guilty HERE via video streamed in a Montreal courtroom. His hearing only lasted around 10 minutes long. Magnotta is faced with 5 charges including first-degree murder, committing an indignity to a human body, posting obscene material, mailing obscene material and criminally harassing Stephen Harper and other members of Parliament. Two very capable Crown prosecutors, Hélène Di Salvo and Louis Bouthillier, have been assigned to the case. The news story contains a Video of an interview with Montreal Police Commander Ian Lafrenière.