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Facts about judge, defence lawyer and Crown prosecutor in Magnotta trial

Luka Magnotta is taken by police from a military plane to a waiting van in Mirabel on June 18, 2012.
September 28, 2014 - 9:33 PM

MONTREAL - The first-degree murder trial of Luka Rocco Magnotta is set to begin Monday.

Magnotta has pleaded not guilty in connection to the dismemberment and slaying of Jun Lin in May 2012.

Here are some facts about trial judge Guy Cournoyer, defence lawyer Luc Leclair and Crown prosecutor Louis Bouthillier:


— Named to Quebec Superior Court in May 2007.

— Oversaw the case of Basil Parasiris, a Quebecer who was acquitted in killing Laval police officer Daniel Tessier.

— Previously practised as an attorney in Montreal for 20 years and best known for his role in several public inquiries, including the Gomery Commission on federal sponsorship.

— Will also preside the 2015 trial of Richard Henry Bain, the man charged in Quebec's election-night shooting in 2012.

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— Called to the Ontario bar in 1991.

— Has been Magnotta's primary legal representative since June 2012.

— Is fluently bilingual and practises law mainly in the Greater Toronto Area.

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— A lawyer for the past 28 years and a veteran Crown attorney.

— Is handling the Magnotta case on his own after co-Crown prosecutor Helene Di Salvo was named a Quebec Superior Court justice in December 2012.

— Has tried some high-profile cases in the Montreal area, including the first-degree murder trial of Adele Sorella, a mother who was found guilty of killing her two daughters.

— Recently prosecuted three men who were eventually found guilty of a double murder and attempted murder at an Old Montreal clothing boutique.


Here is a timeline of events in the case:


July: Chinese student Jun Lin arrives in Montreal.


May 24: Lin last seen by friends.

May 26: Montana lawyer Roger Renville sees bizarre Internet video he believes is snuff film depicting bound man being stabbed to death and dismembered.

May 27: Renville alerts U.S. and Canadian police to Internet video but they dismiss it as a fake.

May 29: Montreal police called to low-rent apartment building after janitor finds dismembered torso in suitcase left in trash. Same day, foot is found in package mailed to Conservative party in Ottawa and hand is found in package in Canada Post warehouse. Package destined for Liberal party. Lin reported missing by friends.

May 30: Montreal police name Magnotta as prime suspect and say national warrant issued for his arrest. Interpol adds him to its wanted list, putting police in 190 countries on alert. Montreal police find video on Internet and try unsuccessfully to have it taken down.

May 31: Montreal police confirm they have video that apparently shows man tied to bed, being killed and then dismembered.

June 1: Montreal police identify torso victim as Lin, a 33-year-old computer science student at Concordia University. Warrant issued for Magnotta on upgraded first-degree murder charge. Police say Magnotta also charged with threatening Prime Minister Stephen Harper because of the foot mailed to the Conservative Party of Canada offices.

June 2: French police conduct "targeted" searches.

June 3: French media report that Magnotta stayed in a low-budget hotel in Paris. French media report police checking claims of two people who say they saw him. Chinese Embassy in Ottawa issues statement advising Chinese visitors to Canada to take safety precautions.

June 4: German police acting on tip arrest Magnotta in Berlin in an Internet cafe. He faces charges of first-degree murder, committing indignity to dead body, mailing obscene material and criminally harassing prime minister and several unidentified MPs. Harper, attending Queen's Jubilee in Britain, congratulates police on their quick work.

June 5: Two schools in Vancouver receive packages containing human remains: a hand and a foot. Meanwhile, in Berlin, Magnotta informs authorities he will not fight extradition. Lin's family arrives in Montreal.

June 13: Forensic tests allow Montreal police to confirm torso, feet and hands all belong to Lin. A Berlin court orders Magnotta to remain behind bars pending his extradition to Canada.

June 18: Magnotta arrives in Montreal aboard Canadian military plane. Video and photos provided by Montreal police show him handcuffed and surrounded by several armed guards as he gets off the aircraft.

June 19: Magnotta pleads not guilty after being formally charged with the first-degree murder of Lin, along with defiling his corpse, harassing Harper and members of Parliament, and publishing and mailing obscene material.

June 21: Magnotta makes in-person court appearance in Montreal in order to set future court dates (his previous appearance was via video conference). He is represented by Toronto lawyer Luc Leclair.

July 1: Tip leads Montreal police to a park in Montreal's west end, where they discover human remains near a pond.

July 4: Forensic tests allow Montreal police to confirm that body part found three days earlier was Lin's head.


March 11: Preliminary hearing begins. Magnotta's lawyers argue, unsuccessfully, that courtroom should be closed to the public and media. Courtroom remains open and a more routine publication ban is applied to details of the hearing.

March 12: Jun Lin's father, Diran, leaves courtroom in tears after hearing evidence. Details of that evidence are subject to publication ban. Members of Lin's family from China are in Canada to follow the case.

March 19: Magnotta collapses in court during preliminary hearing while appearing distraught by evidence presented against him. Still handcuffed, he falls to his side in the prisoner's box and curls into fetal position.

April 12: Magnotta ordered to stand trial on five charges, including first-degree murder, in decision by Quebec court Judge Lori-Renee Weitzman.

April 29: Trial date set for September 2014.

Nov. 13: Magnotta enters fresh not-guilty pleas.


Feb. 7: Judge grants order to allow witness testimony to be gathered in France and Germany.

July 21: Judge rules out blanket publication ban on trial evidence.

Sept. 8: Jury selection begins.

Sept. 19: Jury finalized after eight days of hearings.

Sept. 29: Trial set to begin.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2014
The Canadian Press

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