Jurors in Montreal have resumed their slow immersion into the macabre details of the murder and dismemberment of a young Chinese student in their city two years ago by a purported lover, who then set about posting parts of the victim's body to political figures and other institutions all across Canada.
A trial that will captivate Canada for the next several weeks opened with a guilty plea from the defendant, Lukas Magnotta, to the physical facts of the case, including the killing of the victim, Jun Lin, and sending one limb to the office of the Prime Minister, Stephen Harper.
But his lawyer said he should be acquitted of the five charges against him by virtue of mental incapacity. “Mr Magnotta is going to raise the issue of mental disorder,” the chief defence lawyer, Luc Leclair, told the 12-person jury. “I will show that at the time of the events, he was not criminally responsible.”
On the stand for a second day for the prosecution was a Montreal forensic investigator, Caroline Simoneau, who described searching rubbish bins outside the apartment block where Mr Magnotta, 32, was living at the time of the May 2012 disappearance of the victim. One suitcase was finally found containing his torso.
Video: Luke Magnotta is arrested in 2012
Crown prosecutor, Louis Bouthillier, who plans to call about 60 witnesses, said he will prove that the defendant was of sound mind and that he had been planning the murder of Mr Lin for six months. Part of the evidence to be shown is a video found by police on the internet that apparently showed the murder as it happened.
The discovery triggered a huge manhunt for Mr Magnotta that soon became international after it was determined he had fled to Europe. He was eventually tracked down to Berlin where he was arrested in an internet café.
Quebec Superior Court Judge Guy Cournoyer told the jurors that Mr Magnotta “admits the acts or the conduct underlying the five offences” and that their task at the conclusion of his trial will be to “determine if the Crown has proven he committed the offences with required state of mind for each offence”.
Those attending the trial include the victim's father, Lin Diran, who lives in China. “Some people can't understand why a father would want to see evidence like this, but it's his choice. It's his son,” noted Daniel Urbas, his lawyer. “He decided that the way he wants to honour his son is to be here.”Reuse content