Luka Rocco Magnotta’s murder case is taking an international twist as the Crown seeks a judge’s OK to question witnesses in France and Germany.
Magnotta’s trial in the May 2012 death of Concordia University student Jun Lin is scheduled to take place this coming September.
Magnotta left Canada after the alleged murder and went to France and then Germany, where he was arrested in June 2012.
The Crown wants to interview more than 30 witnesses in those two countries.
An attorney who deals with international cases with Quebec’s public prosecutions office says there is no legal way to compel witnesses from a foreign country to testify in Canada.
Magnotta’s attorney, Luc Leclair, said Thursday the witnesses should be brought to Canada on the federal government’s dime.
Leclair pegged the cost of bringing Magnotta back to Canada at $450,000 and said if authorities did it once, they can do it again to bring witnesses here.
“If [Prime Minister Stephen] Harper was able to pay $450,000, they can pay to have 20 to 35 witnesses to come to Canada,” Leclair said.
The process is wrought with technological and jurisdictional hurdles.
Sebastien Bergeron-Guyard, the lawyer who deals with international cases involving Quebec, says courtrooms in those countries are not equipped with audio and video equipment to record the testimony.
He said it would be highly unlikely that Magnotta would be able to attend such questioning in person.
“When we move someone out of Canada, we’re never sure we’ll have them back because we don’t have jurisdiction anymore,” Bergeron-Guyard said.
“If we move them, we have to start the extradition process anew, so we’re never sure if we’ll get them back.”
Bergeron-Guyard said arrangements could be made to have Magnotta attend through video link from the detention centre where he is incarcerated.
Magnotta’s jury trial is set to begin Sept. 8 and will be presided by Quebec Superior Court Justice Guy Cournoyer.