Mark Marek, who posted Magnotta murder video, pleads guilty to corrupting morals
Website owner, who will spend 3 months under house arrest, left courthouse with duct tape over mouth
An Edmonton website owner who posted a video showing the murder and dismemberment of Jun Lin in Montreal has pleaded guilty to corrupting morals.
After receiving a six-month conditional sentence, Mark Marek walked out of the Edmonton Law Courts building, put duct tape over his mouth, and held up a sign reading "Guilty of Canadian thought crimes."
That was his only public statement.
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Marek, 41, is the owner of a website that specializes in showing extremely disturbing videos — ones that show death, dismemberment, accidents and executions. In court, he said the video made by Luka Magnotta of Lin's murder went over the line.
"I admit it was obscene," Marek stated. "It is admitted that the posting of the video went beyond what served the public good."
Fired Legal Aid lawyer
Marek represented himself in court after firing his Legal Aid lawyer at an earlier hearing. Late Friday, a plea deal was hammered out, avoiding a trial which was expected to last three weeks.
As the trial was to open, Crown prosecutor James Rowan announced the plea arrangement. Justice Sterling Sanderman of Court of Queen's Bench read the charge, which relates to distributing and circulating obscene material, and Marek stood up and stated, "I plead guilty."
"You won't go to jail," Sanderman advised Marek, accepting a six-month conditional sentence recommended by the Crown.
Marek will be under house arrest for the first three months, but will be allowed to leave for 10 hours a week so he can shop, run errands and attend to his online business. After that, he will serve the remainder of his sentence "in the community", and is required to perform 30 hours of community service.
Sanderman also had a warning for Marek, stating he was taking an active interest in how he complies with the terms of his sentence.
"If you are not doing well, I will drag you back to court and we'll have a discussion," Sanderman said, staring straight at Marek, telling him that if he breached any terms of his sentence, "You will go to jail."
'Public good' argument shot down
Since his arrest, Marek has maintained he was doing a public service by posting the video.
"I believe I help to save lives with this. I helped to administer justice. I helped catch the perpetrator," he said in an earlier interview with CBC News.
In a rambling statement to the court after pleading guilty, Marek again tried to justify posting the video. He denied using it for financial gain, suggesting his website cost more to operate than it made in revenue. He said the Magnotta video did not create a substantial increase of traffic to the site until mainstream media picked up the story. Marek said he took the video down the day after it was publicized in news media.
"I believe it is important," he said, "the 1 Lunatic 1 Ice Pick video is seen and understood for what it is, so appropriate steps can be taken to bring those responsible to justice and prevent any further such atrocity from happening."
But Sanderman said there was no justification in making the video available to the public. "It shows an actual crime. It is also extremely obscene," Sanderman lectured, "It has death, it has horror, it has cruelty, it has violence, it has dismemberment, it has sex."
Sanderman said there was no need to play the video in court, "we've got plenty of description of it," he said, "I'm not overly curious."
The 10-minute video played a key role in Magnotta's first-degree murder trial in 2014. It graphically depicts the slaying and dismemberment of Lin, a 33-year-old university student from China. In addition to videotaping the crime, Magnotta also mailed parts of Lin's body to federal Liberal and Conservative Party headquarters, and to two Vancouver schools.
Magnotta is now serving a life sentence.