Witnesses will be heard in France and Germany in the case of a Canadian ex-porn actor accused of premeditated murder in the grisly killing and dismemberment of a Chinese student, officials said on Friday.
Luka Rocco Magnotta, 31, is due in court September 15 after pleading not guilty to first-degree murder and other charges, including committing indignities to a body and harassing Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Superior Court Justice Guy Cournoyer granted a request to launch a formal request for judicial assistance in Europe, out of concern French or German witnesses would not respond to a court summons in Canada.
As part of the complex process, all the parties will travel to France and Germany in the coming weeks to question the witnesses, and those interviews will be used in the trial.
“The witnesses have to come forward to testify, which would not have taken place if they had been invited to appear in Canada,” Magnotta lawyer Luc Leclair said as he left court.
“All parties intend to follow Canadian law as much as possible while also respecting the sovereignty and diplomacy of foreign countries.”
Police have said that Magnotta, a one-time gay porn actor and sex worker, stabbed his victim in 2012 with an ice pick before carving up his body, sexually abusing the corpse, filming the act and posting the video online.
Days after Lin Jun’s death, police discovered the victim’s torso in a suitcase by the trash outside an apartment along a busy highway in Montreal.
His severed hands and feet were sent through the mail to federal political parties in Ottawa and to two schools in Vancouver. The head was found in a Montreal park two months later.
The media dubbed Magnotta the “Canadian Psycho” after it was discovered that the soundtrack from the movie “American Psycho” was playing in the background of a video of the alleged murder that was posted online.
Magnotta fled to Europe immediately after the killing, but he was arrested in a Berlin Internet cafe after stops in France and and elsewhere in Germany.
He faces life in prison if convicted.