Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Luka Magnotta Seeks to Have Public Banned from Preliminary Hearing Next Week

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Luka Magnotta Seeks to Have Public Banned from Preliminary Hearing Next Week

Article excerpt

Magnotta seeks closed-door court hearing

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MONTREAL - When Luka Magnotta returns before a judge for his preliminary hearing next week, he'll seek to have the public banned entirely from the courtroom.

A publication ban on evidence heard at a preliminary hearing is routine, but Magnotta's lawyer has taken the unusual step of asking that everyone be barred from the courtroom except the judge, the lawyers in the case and the court clerk.

The motion states that the request stems from an unspecified reason related to Magnotta's personal and medical history, details of which are not disclosed in the document.

The motion was filed in Quebec Court last Thursday by Luc Leclair, Magnotta's Toronto-based lawyer. It will be debated next Monday as Magnotta's preliminary inquiry is set to begin in Montreal.

The lengthy hearing will be used to determine whether Magnotta stands trial. Quebec Court judge Lori-Renee Weitzman will hear the case and, if it is sent to trial, the case will be heard by a different judge in Quebec Superior Court.

Magnotta is charged with first-degree murder in the slaying and dismemberment of Chinese-born student Jun Lin last May.

He is accused of mailing body parts to different places including the Ottawa offices of the Conservative Party of Canada, the Liberal Party of Canada and two Vancouver schools.

Magnotta became the target of an international manhunt after parts of Lin's body began turning up across the country.

Magnotta, 30, also faces other charges related to Lin's death: 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.

He has previously pleaded not guilty and chosen trial by judge and jury.

His court appearances have attracted throngs of journalists jostling for a spot in the high-security courtroom where he appeared. …

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