Magnotta lawyers seeking to ban media, public from hearing

Lawyers for the man accused of murdering a Chinese student and dismembering his body want the media and public barred from his preliminary hearing.

MONTREAL — Lawyers for the man accused of murdering a Chinese student and dismembering his body want the media and public barred from his preliminary hearing.

The evidence presented Monday supporting the motion by lawyers for Luka Rocco Magnotta is subject to a publication ban.

Magnotta’s legal team, led by Toronto-based lawyer Luc Leclair, argue the only people who should be allowed to remain in the courtroom are the prosecutors, the judge and a court clerk.

They say it’s necessary to guarantee Magnotta a fair trial.

Clad from head to toe in white, Magnotta sat impassively and quietly, with his arms folded in his lap. His feet and hands were shackled and he was in a glass box that was sealed off from the rest of the courtroom.

He has pleaded not guilty to a charge of first-degree murder in the slaying of Jun Lin last May. The preliminary hearing will determine whether there is enough evidence to send him to trial.

His court dates have usually come with a heavy media presence — and Monday’s was no different.

A handful of journalists were able to cram into a high-security room, with as many 30 people in a spill-over room in another part of the courthouse.