By Jasmine Kabatay
Luka Magnotta has admitted to the killing of Chinese engineering student Jun Lin, but has plead not guilty claiming he is not criminally responsible.
Magnotta, 32, is on trial for the alleged murder and dismemberment of 33-year-old Lin in May 2012. He’s also being tried for posting an obscene online video related to the charges and mailing body parts across Canada before being arrested in Berlin in June 2012.
“He admits the acts or the conducts underlying the crime for which he is charged,” Superior Court Justice Guy Cournoyer told the jury Monday.
With this new turn of events, the task of the jury is now to determine whether Magnotta committed the five offenses with the required state of mind.
“This case will be about not whether he did it or not but whether he was, as they say, of sound mind at the time of the offense,” said Edward Prutschi, a Toronto criminal lawyer not involved with the case.
This defence is not unusual and the case is no different than any other homicide cases in some ways, said Prutschi.
“In other respects, it’s extremely different just because of the enormous media attention and the particularly gruesome nature of the allegations in this case and the international nature of the manhunt that was held in order to bring Magnotta back to Canada to face trial in the first place,” said Prutschi
The trial has been receiving international attention with reporters from around the world gathering at the Montreal courthouse.
The extreme circumstances made selecting a jury a challenge. 1,600 people received jury summons, with more than 100 men and women interviewed and screened during a two-week process, reported the CBC.
During the course of the trial, graphic videos and evidence will be shown to jurors.
“[It’s] difficult for the average person to be able to dispassionately sit through a trial [and] see all that kind evidence and still maintain their wits about them and still maintain a commitment to the presumption of innocence,” said Prutschi.
“The challenge for the defence is to overcome the shock value of the evidence and, if there is a cogent argument regarding Mr. Magnotta’s state of mind at the time, to focus the attention of the jury onto that aspect of the evidence and to focus them away from the shocking nature of the violence,” said Nathan Gorham a Toronto criminal lawyer, who also isn’t involved with the trial.
Magnotta’s defence team intends to prove that Magnotta is schizophrenic and will be calling on a number of health professionals who have treated the accused over the years.