OTTAWA – Luka Magnotta may not be the only person facing charges in the aftermath of the investigation into the brutal slaying of Chinese student Lin Jun in Montreal.
Montreal police confirmed Tuesday they were investigating the owner of an Edmonton-based gore website for posting a video allegedly showing the killing and subsequent dismembering of the 33-year-old man.
Commander Ian Lafreniere said the force has been in contact with its counterparts in Edmonton about the video.
“We do have a video that was posted on the web. For us, we believe it’s the right one, but now we have to prove it, so (there are) some legal issues also about this,” he told a Tuesday press conference.
The investigation is centred on whether the video breaches Canada’s obscenity laws. If charges are laid, the case would undoubtedly launch a heated debate about limits on free speech.
Thousands of people viewed a stomach-churning video posted on Bestgore.com after news spread it might document the last moments of Lin’s life.
The video entitled “1 lunatic 1 ice pick” shows a person in a black hoodie stabbing an Asian man multiple times. The hooded figure later dismembers the body and commits sexual acts with the severed remains.
A section of the Criminal Code could cover the video’s violent pornographic elements. Section 163 of the code makes it an offence to make, print, publish, distribute or circulate any obscene materials.
According to the law, obscene materials include those depicting undue exploitation of sex and of sex combined with crime, horror, cruelty and violence.
Under the code, the distribution of the “corrupting” materials could be justified if the public good was served.
Mark Marek, who owns Bestgore.com, bills the site as a “reality news website” specializing in showing the true nature of human beings. Critics, he says, are sheep who refuse to see the world for what it really is.
“If you find Best Gore obscene, then you find real life obscene. Best Gore does not report on some fantasy world. It’s all photos and videos from right here, on our streets and in our neighborhoods,” Marek wrote in an extensive online post.
The same writing defends posting the video, saying it served the public good by exposing the alleged murder.
Magnotta, Marek said, was identified by the online community days before the police, findings that were reported to the Toronto police.
Roger Renville, an American lawyer, said he reported the video on the website to police in Toronto and the U.S., but his concerns were dismissed. Toronto police said someone who called them did not provide a web address and they directed the caller to Crime Stoppers.
“Had authorities acted upon the reports we made, they may have captured Luka sooner,” Marek writes.
Public Safety Minister Vic Toews said posting the video showed insensitivity.
“I think we have to be sensitive not only to the general public, but also to the family of this victim and I think this indicates a real lack of sensitivity to the people who are suffering as a result of this heinous crime,” he told reporters on Tuesday.
Marek said he would only take the video down if a “proven family” member asked him to, but that ultimately posting the video doesn’t change the fact that their son is gone.
As for the potential of facing obscenity charges, Marek said he would have to go to jail before he stops what he is doing.
“If exposing a murderer for whom he is and bringing his actions to the attention of the public and the police is a crime, then I better get put in jail, cause I’d rather be there than share the Earth with sheep who support evil,” he said.