Magnotta’s lawyer asks jury to find his client not criminally responsible

Luka Rocco Magnotta's lawyer has asked jurors to find his client not criminally responsible in the slaying and dismemberment of Jun Lin.

MONTREAL — Luka Rocco Magnotta’s lawyer has asked jurors to find his client not criminally responsible in the slaying and dismemberment of Jun Lin.

Luc Leclair addressed the jury Wednesday, telling them there is no doubt in his mind that Magnotta is schizophrenic and was not of sound mind during the killing in May 2012.

“The verdict of Mr. Magnotta is in your hands,” Leclair told the jury in closing arguments that lasted an hour.

Magnotta, 32, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and four other charges stemming from Lin’s slaying.

He has admitted to causing the death of the 33-year-old Chinese engineering student, but is seeking a verdict of not criminally responsible by way of mental disorder.

Leclair asked jurors to put themselves in the mind of the accused in coming to a decision.

“Insanity is something that you’re going to have to live,” he told them. “You’re going to have to put yourself in the head of Mr. Magnotta.

“Other verdicts are possible, but I’m asking you to declare Mr. Magnotta not criminally repsonsible.”

He said the verdict should be the same for all five charges.

The others are 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.

The jury heard 66 witnesses over a 40-day period, including days spent on the reports and testimony of forensic pyschiatrists who had different views on Magnotta’s illness and state of mind at the time of the crime.

Magnotta did not testify at the trial and did not submit to an evaluation by the Crown’s own forensic psychiatrist.

Leclair said that shouldn’t count against his client, who has a right to silence and wasn’t obliged to speak to the Crown expert.

He repeatedly suggested to the jury that they consult the various expert reports but not get bogged down by them. They made up the bulk of the testimony at the trial.

“You must use your good sense and your life experience,” Leclair said.

He also dismissed the Crown’s expert, Dr. Gilles Chamberland, as being biased and having a preconceived notion about Magnotta that he discussed in media interviews. Leclair suggested the jury simply set aside Chamberland’s testimony altogether.

In a closing that jumped from topic to topic, Leclair also dismissed any similarity between his client’s acts and scenes and characters from the film “Basic Instinct,” which the Crown has suggested served as an inspiration for the crime.

The 14 jurors listened intently as Leclair delivered his final arguments, while Magnotta kept his head low and listened to his lawyer through a translator as he spoke in French.

Crown prosecutor Louis Bouthillier will present his final submissions Thursday and Justice Guy Cournoyer will give his final instructions Friday.

Only 12 jurors will deliberate.

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