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‘Insanity is insanity’: Closing arguments for defence at Magnotta trial

Watch: On Tuesday, the Magnotta jury heard closing arguments from defence counsel. Domenic Fazioli reports. 

MONTREAL — Defence counsel Luc Leclair addressed the jury in French when he delivered his closing arguments on Thursday morning.

After reminding jury members of when Luka Magnotta left his apartment wearing Jun Lin’s baseball cap and yellow shirt, he said: ” These were not trophies. Not at all.”

“They were signs of his mental illness. Of his insanity.”

And so began just over an hour of Leclair’s closing arguments, where he relentlessly repeated “La folie, c’est la folie” (insanity is insanity).

Leclair’s intent was clear: to persuade the jury that Magnotta was insane when he killed Lin, and as such, the jury must find him not criminally responsible.

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READ MORE: Magnotta trial: What is Not Criminally Responsible?

Leclair repeatedly asked the jury to put aside the expert psychiatrist reports and make a decision based on the evidence presented.

“The experts are just witnesses who have a knowledge that we do not have,” he said.

“At the end of the day, you make your decision.”

He reminded jury members that the crown must prove each charge beyond a reasonable doubt.

“Even if you are not sure, even if you believe that he is more guilty than not, you must consider Article 16.”

READ MORE: Magnotta trial: Not criminally responsible myths, debunked

After dismissing psychiatrists’ testimony, Leclair suggested that there was no proof to support Dr. Joel Watt’s supposition of a drug-induced psychosis.

Watts, a psychiatrist who assessed Magnotta for criminal responsibility and testified on behalf of the defence, was unusually asked three questions by the jury on Day 33 of the trial.

Leclair then touched on Magnotta’s childhood, his history of hospitalization, diagnoses and psychoses.

“To me, there is no doubt that Mr Magnotta is a schizophrenic,” Leclair said.

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“It’s not to blame the doctor. It’s not to place blame on how he wasn’t treated properly, even though this was the case.

READ MORE: Magnotta’s father describes son’s isolated, dysfunctional childhood

“Perhaps he was beaten when he was young, perhaps he didn’t go to school until grade six, his father may have tied him to a high chair, his mother maybe killed his rabbit, I don’t know.

“In all his school reports, there was never any violence.

“Whether this causes pity is not the question, it is part of his background, it’s true, but that’s all.”

Leclair moved on to the videos Magnotta made that showed him killing animals and his subsequent interview in London with journalist Alex West.

“He makes videos of killing cats, only then to say that it wasn’t him that made the video. Ça ne va pas,” Leclair said, pointing to his head and making a gesture like the cuckoo sign.

“If we take the report from Dr. Paris, it’s clear Mr. Magnotta that he was living in a manic phase when he was in London.

“His father has already been diagnosed with a similar psychoses.

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“You saw the photo that Mr. West took. You must have heard more than once when the photo was discussed: ‘There was nothing in his eyes, they were vacant.'”

READ MORE: Journalist describes meeting with ‘defensive and cocky’ Luka Magnotta in England

Leclair suggested to the jury that evidence of his client’s insanity lay in the details, showing them various clips from the surveillance footage of Magnotta in his apartment building leading up to the night of Lin’s death and then shortly after.

“You need to get in the head of the man who made these videos,” he told the jury.

The jury watched snippets of Magnotta in a wig, wandering around the apartment building at all hours of the night, and they were shown surveillance footage of the unidentified man who visited Magnotta in his apartment in May 2012, weeks before the killing of Lin.

“What is Magnotta doing, walking around the apartment building, wearing a wig at 11 at night? Why does he appear to be cleaning, taking garbage to the basement at 4 in the morning?” Leclair asked.

READ MORE: ‘You OK?’ Luka Magnotta asks mystery man bound to bed days before killing

He said that when the unknown man exited the apartment in a groggy state, Magnotta helped him, noting:  “It’s a little bizarre.”

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However, he maintained that jurors must remain neutral.

“There are those among you while watching the videos who may be angry or upset. This has no place in your verdict,” he said.

“It’s a normal reaction, but it is the opposite of sympathy and should not factor in your decision. There are those among you who may wish to cry. Of course, shed your tears, but then put your feelings aside.

“The video speaks for itself. Be calm, relaxed, watch the videos. That’s the evidence.”

READ MORE: Tracing Luka Magnotta’s footsteps: The night Jun Lin is last seen alive

After the last video clips were shown, Leclair rather abruptly ended his presentation.

“The verdict for Mr. Magnotta is in your hands,” he said.

And with that, his closing arguments were over.

The closing arguments for the prosecution will begin Thursday morning, and jury deliberations are expected to start on Friday morning.

Justice Guy Cournoyer was very clear with jurors that how long it takes to come to a decision should not affect the verdict, asking those with plans or other events that could cause undue stress to advise the court, so they could be exempted from deliberations.

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The jury consists of seven men and nine women. In total, 16 people were selected: 14 jurors and two alternates. Ultimately, 14 jurors will hear the case and a dozen will deliberate on the final verdict.

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