Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Luka Rocco Magnotta to Stand Trial in September 2014

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Luka Rocco Magnotta to Stand Trial in September 2014

Article excerpt

Magnotta to stand trial in September 2014

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MONTREAL - The trial of accused killer Luka Rocco Magnotta will begin in September 2014, more than two years after his arrest in the death of university student Jun Lin.

Magnotta appeared Monday in a Montreal courtroom, where his jury trial was set for Sept. 15, 2014. It is scheduled to last six to eight weeks.

Defence lawyer Luc Leclair requested an earlier start date and even asked the judge whether April 2014 would be a possibility. Justice Andre Vincent replied that nothing was available before September.

"I expected an earlier date, but it's a busy courthouse," said Leclair, who has, for the most part, declined to speak to reporters.

"I'm not completely surprised."

The shackled defendant, who sat quietly behind a glass barrier around the prisoner's box as the date was set, will have a pre-trial conference later this year, on Sept. 3.

Magnotta, a former porn actor and stripper, was arrested last June in Berlin following an international manhunt.

Leclair explained how his client tried to speed up the process by declining to fight his extradition to Canada from Germany, a battle he said could have dragged on for up to five years.

"During that time witnesses that are essential for the Crown's case might have left the country, the evidence would have become stale and it's clear that the Crown's case would have been weakened," Leclair told reporters at the courthouse after Monday's appearance.

"However, he decided to come back to Canada and to face the public in Montreal, in particular, who will be called to judge him...

"He came, personally, to face the court because he has faith in the Canadian judicial system."

Magnotta's lawyer indicated that in the meantime he might file a motion to "quash" a judge's recent decision that ordered the accused to stand trial for first-degree murder.

His legal team had attempted to have the charge downgraded to second-degree murder.

But Quebec court Judge Lori-Renee Weitzman ruled a few weeks ago there was sufficient evidence for Magnotta to be tried on the charge of premeditated murder. …

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