WATCH ABOVE:Jun Lin’s father speaks out as the first day of Luka Magnotta’s criminal trial wraps up. Global’s Elysia Bryan-Baynes was there
MONTREAL —Diran Lin stood before a mass of reporters, cameras and microphones – all there to cover the trial of a man who, hours earlier, had admitted to killing his son.
Lin clasped his hands in front of his body, raising one to wipe his eyes with a kerchief.
Translator Anna Liu, who has been by Lin’s side since the preliminary hearings, wrapped her arms around his right arm, leaning over from time to time to explain exactly what the journalists and a lawyer were saying.
After the first day of Luka Magnotta’s murder trial wrapped up, Lin stood in front of the press but did not say a word. Earlier, the family’s lawyer Daniel Urbas asked Lin several questions he anticipated reporters might ask and related the grieving father’s answers to cameras.
Urbas said the father was in no position to answer questions himself.
Lin’s son Jun Lin was killed, beheaded and dismembered in May 2012. His torso was found stuffed in a suitcase placed among garbage, his head at a park in Montreal and his foot at the federal Conservative Party’s head office in Ottawa.
Magnotta faces five charges, including first-degree murder, committing an indignity to a body, publishing obscene material, criminally harassing Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other members of Parliament, and mailing obscene and indecent material.
He has admitted to doing what he’s accused of doing, including killing the 33-year-old Concordia University student. But his lawyers argue that severe mental illness meant Magnotta was not of sound mind when the events took place and can’t be held criminally responsible for those actions.
Lin’s appearance Monday afternoon will be the only one until the 14-member jury renders a verdict, Urbas said. He will not comment on Magnotta, the evidence or the not-criminally-responsible defence strategy revealed Monday morning.
WATCH: The first day of Luka Magnotta’s trial opened with a surprising admission. Magnotta concedes to all the charges including the murder of 33-year-old Jun Lin. Domenic Fazioli reports.
“It’s not that he doesn’t have an opinion … I can assure you, if you as a parent see your child in this evidence, you have an opinion,” Urbas said. “He feels in our system, the way it’s designed, it’s better that he not involve himself in the process unduly.”
As difficult as watching the trial unfold will be for Lin, he said through Urbas he believes his attendance is a way to honour his slain son. And he wants to know what happened, how it happened and, hopefully, get an answer to the question that is likely the most difficult to answer: Why did this happen to his son?
Urbas said Lin will be there virtually every day while his wife and daughter remain in China.
“The mother and daughter were unable … during the preliminary hearings to even get near this building, let alone come in,” Urbas said. “So the idea for them to attend the actual trial was too much for them.”
The victim’s mother and sister decided, Urbas said, they would prefer to suffer in the privacy of their home.
If Lin is not in the courtroom itself, he will be in the adjacent room where it is more comfortable for him, Urbas said.
When the first witness, a Montreal police forensic specialist, took the stand, Lin was in an adjacent room the trial judge had set up for him, his lawyer and translator.
There, lawyers and interpreters can speak with Lin and explain what the witness is saying. They can shield him from gruesome photos of his son’s discarded body parts. **** And he cannot see Magnotta.
“The arrangements that the court has taken are simply beyond our expectations,” Urbas said. “The court has done more than they needed to do, and in a very humane, gentle way for the family.”