January 19, 2015 / 10:10 PM / 3 years ago

Canadian convicted of dismembering Chinese student appeals verdict

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An artist's sketch shows Luka Rocco Magnotta, appearing in court for his preliminary hearing in Montreal, March 12, 2013.Atalante

MONTREAL (Reuters) - A Canadian male escort, found guilty last month of killing and dismembering a Chinese student, has appealed his first-degree murder conviction, claiming errors by the trial judge, Canadian media reported Monday.

Luka Magnotta, 32, was found guilty in the 2012 death of Jun Lin, 33, after eight days of jury deliberation. He was also convicted on charges including committing an indignity to a human body, publishing and mailing obscene material as well as criminally harrassing the Canadian prime minister and other lawmakers.

Magnotta's defense lawyer, Luc Leclair, filed an appeal against all charges and is requesting a new trial, saying the judge erred in his instructions to the jury. The appeal also says the "verdicts are unreasonable and unsupported by the evidence and instructions."

Magnotta had admitted to killing and dismembering the engineering student in Montreal but pleaded not guilty on grounds of mental illness.

A first-degree murder conviction in Canada carries an automatic life sentence with no possibility of parole for 25 years. A hearing on the appeal will take place in Montreal on Feb. 18, media reported.

Daniel Urban, a Montreal lawyer who represented Lin's family during the trial, said in a statement that the trial judge was "experienced, talented and careful."

"His skill and his approach to obtaining consensus from the prosecution and the defense eliminated most any grounds of appeal for the decisions he had to take," Urbas said.

Jun Lin's father, Diran Lin, who traveled from China to Montreal for the trial, is still in Canada.

The case gripped Canada in the spring of 2012 after Lin's body parts were found in the trash behind a Montreal apartment building and in packages mailed to political parties in Ottawa and to schools in Vancouver.

Reporting By Allison Lampert; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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