Luka Magnotta trial to begin Monday

Giuseppe Valiante, QMI Agency



Quebec criminal lawyer Robert La Haye said it likely won't be difficult for the Crown to prove that Luka Magnotta butchered Chinese student Jun Lin.

The Crown is expected to present a video purported to show the murder. The real work for Magnotta's defence team will be to prove that their client wasn't aware of what he was doing the night Lin was murdered.

"In a case like this, what else will you do?" asked La Haye.

Magnotta, 30, is charged with first-degree murder and indignity to a human body after Lin was cut into pieces last May in Montreal.

La Haye said he suspects both sides will present psychiatrists to argue whether or not Magnotta is criminally responsible for Lin's murder.

"It will be a battle of experts," La Haye said.

Between 1992 and 2004, close to half of all Canadians found not criminally responsible because of mental-health reasons were judged in Quebec courts.

But before the experts battle is the preliminary inquiry, which is scheduled to begin on Monday in Montreal.

The Crown will present the evidence it believes will convince a judge that there is enough material for a jury to rule on Magnotta's culpability.

However, the public will be largely shut out of the process because details of the case will be under a publication ban.

Leclair has also asked for all journalists and members of the public to be banned outright from the preliminary inquiry -- a rare request.

Lawyers will debate the motion Monday morning.

With the large number of foreign journalists expected to flood into Montreal to cover the trial, enforcing the publication ban will be tricky, media lawyer Mark Bantey said.

He pointed out that during the heavily-mediated trial in 2007 of Robert Pickton, who was found guilty on six counts of second-degree murder, the judge discovered that some U.S. journalists weren't obeying the publication ban.

Bantey said the judge ordered all foreign media to identify themselves and threw out those who wouldn't guarantee to respect the ban.

However, a disrespectful foreign journalist, once kicked out, could still potentially gather information and write stories.

Bantey said it is virtually impossible for a judge to fully ensure no information escapes the courtroom, and even harder to hold foreign journalists accountable.

"A judge can't go and get a journalist in a foreign country and bring them back here to be punished," he said.

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