Tuesday, 4 November 2014

My overview of the Magnotta Trial so far

It has been quite some while since I have written an article in this blog, although recently I have been fairly busy updating the Timeline and Luka's Lifestory pages with contemporary information.  

That is not to say I lost interest in the case, far from it, but I needed a break from dwelling too much on such a dark side of human natureHowever, I have been following the trial on a daily basis.
Defence attorney, Luc Leclair
Now on to the trial so far.  The opening gambit from Magnotta's Defence attorney, Luc Leclair, principally that Luka Magnotta admits to carrying out the particulars of the crime but was not criminally responsible for his actions due to mental illness and persecution, came as no surprise to be honest.  It is after all an obvious line for the Defence to pursue and, perhaps, Magnotta's only hope of evading a lengthy spell in prison.

The Crown on the other hand, in light of Luka Magnotta's admission to carrying out the particulars of the crime, was tasked with establishing that Luka Magnotta was indeed criminally responsible of committing the premeditated 1st degree murder of Jun Lin.

Crown Prosecutor, Louis Bouthillier
Over the course of the past four weeks or so Crown prosecutor, Louis Bouthillier, presented the Court with graphic evidence from the various crime scenes, numerous expert witness testimonies and witness statements from North America and Europe, including what transpired to be key witness testimony from British journalist, Alex West.

A great deal of the evidence of the crime and crime scene was in the public domain already, in whole or in part, likewise was Luka Magnotta's activities and movements around the time of the crime and up until his arrest in Berlin, Germany. Much of the witness testimony on these matters confirmed facts and augmented information in the public domain.

The email to Sun Newsdesk, 10/12/11
Early on in the Trial it emerged that the Crown's case for premeditated 1st degree murder centred almost entirely on an email sent to Sun Newsdesk on 10th December 2011, from a UK Yahoo email account in the name of John Kilbride (a child victim of Moors Murderers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley)

It is the Crown's contention that Luka Magnotta sent the 'Kilbride' email following the confrontation between Alex West and Luka Magnotta in Wembley, London, UK, on 8th December 2011. Crown prosecutor, Louis Bouthillier, argued that this proves premeditation to commit murder some six months prior to the crime.

I have expressed my viewpoint about the 'John Kilbride' email elsewhere in this blog, but here we are talking about key evidence presented by the Crown to substantiate the charge of premeditated 1st degree murder.  

It was established in December 2011 by the British Metropolitan Police, Malicious Communications Unit, that the 'John Kilbride' email was sent from a server in The Netherlands to Sun Newsdesk on 10th December 2011 at 16.32.  It is also not disputed that two days previously, on 8th December 2011, Luka Magnotta was staying in Wembley, London.   

Now, bearing in mind the Crown's case for premeditation, one would have expected the Crown to present substantiating evidence of Luka Magnotta's movements from the last confirmed sighting of him in London on 8th December 2011 - i.e. airline passenger ticket, airline manifest entry, or maybe a photocopy, if one was taken, of airline ticket from lodgings in London - to establish that Luka Magnotta was actually in The Netherlands at the time the 'Kilbride' email was sent?!

11th November 2014 - Dr. Allard, forensic psychiatrist giving expert testimony in Magnotta's Defence, stated to the Court that Luka Magnotta admitted to her that he: "admits to having sent the email to Alex West, journalist with The Sun in London!"  Dr. Allard stated that Luka Magnotta is "embarrassed and ashamed" at having sent the email and that he "sent it because he wanted to scare Alex West."    Adding, "It was bad judgement."

So, there you have it, Magnotta sent it but he didn't mean anything by it - it is all one huge coincidence that nearly six months later he followed through on the threat in the email to make a movie involving humans. Nowt premeditated in that then.  What's that?  Pull the other one it's got bells on it!

It is worth noting, however, that the Crown has made little effort to establish motive for the crimes.  Indeed, it seems to me that Crown Prosecutor, Louis Bouthillier, has been rather complacent about the strength of the Crown's case. Maybe this is due, in part, to a presumption from the outset of the Trial that the Crown would have to prove Luka Magnotta perpetrated the crime, rather than prove that he was criminally responsible.

The overriding impression I have gained from the proceedings during the Trial, is not so much about what has been revealed and established, but what has not and remains unresolved!

This Trial, more than most, is very much a Trial of two halves and a great deal now hinges on whether Luka Magnotta's attorney, Luc Leclair, can persuade the Jury there is sufficient evidence to cast reasonable doubt over the Crown's case for premeditation.  

Ultimately, it does not matter what you or I think, as quite properly it is for the twelve men and women of the Jury to reach a verdict on the charge of premeditated 1st degree murder.  

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