Luka Rocco Magnotta to withdraw appeal of murder conviction: reports

Luka Magnotta is taken into protective custody Luka Magnotta arrives at Mirabel Airport, Montreal. Photo credit: Rex Features, STRREX

MONTREAL – Several published reports say Luka Rocco Magnotta will withdraw his appeal of a conviction in the first-degree murder of Jun Lin.

Magnotta’s case is scheduled to return before the province’s Court of Appeal on Wednesday, less than a month after he announced he was appealing the conviction and wanted a new trial.

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Reached by phone, the lawyer for Magnotta, Toronto-based Luc Leclair, said he had no comment on the reports that he would withdraw his client’s appeals on Wednesday. He denied having spoken to media about the appeals.

“I have no comments at this point,” he told The Canadian Press in reference to the reports Tuesday from Radio-Canada and French-language network TVA.

A spokesman for Quebec’s director of criminal and penal prosecutions said he was unaware of such a development on the Magnotta appeals.

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A clerk at the Quebec Court of Appeal said they had yet to receive any notice from Magnotta’s attorney.

Magnotta was found guilty of first-degree murder last December in the 2012 slaying and dismemberment of Lin, a Chinese engineering student.

Magnotta, 32, was also given the maximum possible sentences on the four other charges: criminally harassing Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other members of Parliament; mailing obscene and indecent material; committing an indignity to a body; and publishing obscene materials.

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The first-degree murder conviction carried a sentence of life imprisonment with no chance of parole for 25 years.

Magnotta admitted to killing and dismembering Lin but was seeking to be found not criminally responsible by way of mental disorder. Psychiatrists who testified for the defence said he was in a psychotic state the night of the killing and couldn’t tell right from wrong.

The Crown had countered the crime was planned and deliberate and that Magnotta’s behaviour and actions were incompatible with those of someone supposedly suffering from a disease of the mind.

The jury deliberated for eight days before coming back with a verdict.

Leclair had filed two appeals: a direct appeal of the convictions based on questions of law and would have taken many months to be heard on its merits.

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“The verdicts are unreasonable and unsupported by the evidence and the instructions,” the motion read.

The defence lawyer was also seeking leave to appeal on questions of “mixed fact and law” which was supposed to be argued on Wednesday.

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