Canadian judge rejects total media ban in dismemberment case

Tue Mar 12, 2013 4:55pm EDT
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By Leila Lemghalef

MONTREAL (Reuters) - A Canadian judge rejected on Tuesday a request to ban the press and public from the pre-trial hearing of a Montreal man accused of murdering and dismembering a Chinese student, eating parts of the corpse and posting an online video of the grisly crime.

But Quebec court Judge Lori Renee Weitzman left intact the customary ban on publication of evidence brought forward in such preliminary hearings.

In the hearing, prosecutors will seek to persuade the court in Montreal that they have enough evidence against small-time porn actor Luka Rocco Magnotta for the case to go to trial.

In an unusual request, Magnotta's lawyer had asked the judge to exclude reporters and the public from the proceedings entirely, arguing that this would prevent leaks of the evidence and guarantee Magnotta's right to a fair trial.

Weitzman said her ruling took into account the competing rights of freedom of expression and the right to a fair trial and she believed journalists would abide by the publication restrictions.

She said she would revisit the defense's request if necessary.

The killing of Chinese student Jun Lin in the early summer of 2012 shocked Canadians and grabbed headlines around the world, sparking an international manhunt that led to Magnotta's arrest in Germany last June.

A self-styled porn actor, model and gay escort with an extensive online presence, Magnotta, 30, is accused of killing Lin, a student in Montreal, posting a video on the Internet of the stabbing death and defiling the body and eating parts of it.   Continued...

An artist's sketch shows Luka Rocco Magnotta, appearing in court for his preliminary hearing in Montreal, March 11, 2013. REUTERS/Atalante/Handout