Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Magnotta trial’s reach goes global as Crown seeks to interview European witnesses

Alleged killer Luka Rocco Magnotta is seen in court in an artist’s drawing on Jan. 9, 2013 in Montreal.

Mike McLaughlin/The Canadian Press

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.

Story continues below advertisement

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.

Story continues below advertisement

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.

Report an error
As of December 20, 2017, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this resolved by the end of January 2018. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to