Gore site owner charged over video in Magnotta case
Edmonton website owner faces count of corrupting morals for hosting dismemberment video
The owner of an Edmonton-based website that hosted a video allegedly showing Luka Magnotta stabbing and dismembering Jun Lin, a 33-year-old Chinese national, has been charged with one count of corrupting morals under the Criminal Code.
Edmonton police said Mark Marek, 38, owner of the Best Gore site, was charged Tuesday night after a "complex" investigation lasting more than a year.
"The allegation is that Luka Magnotta sent that email to the website owned and operated by Mr. Marek," said Staff Sgt. Bill Clark.
"And that Mr. Marek willingly and knowingly — knowing the content of that video — placed it on his website for the public or anybody accessing that site to view."
Edmonton homicide detectives began investigating the website and video in June 2012, following the slaying of Lin in Montreal.
Clark said that police didn't have the evidence to charge Marek until February 2013. However, he said Marek left for Hong Kong the day after police contacted him that month, but Clark doesn't believe he was fleeing from investigators.
"We lost him again but at that time we notified [the Canada Border Services Agency]," Clark said. Marek was arrested after landing at the Vancouver airport on July 10.
However, police didn't have evidence to charge and detain Marek, so he was allowed to continue to Edmonton. Police there were in contact with him when he returned to the city.
He was brought in for an interview on Monday and has been remanded into custody. More charges may be laid pending further investigation.
Edmonton police are now examining the contents of equipment seized from Marek at the Vancouver airport.
Magnotta, 29, is suspected of killing Lin, a Chinese university student in Montreal, filming and broadcasting the alleged act, and mailing body parts to Canadian political parties.
Marek said the video came to him from a contributor on May 25, 2012, and was posted the same day. Marek said at the time he and most of the site's members felt the video was real.
In a letter posted on his website Tuesday, Marek said he had spoken with police and was to meet with them Wednesday. He described himself as a target of oppression who will likely be framed by police.
"It didn't sound like the detective was looking to have me sent to jail yet, but I can't be sure of anything," he wrote.
Marek has defended his website's role in the case, saying it provides a public service by educating the public about the dangerous side of human nature.
Under the Criminal Code, anyone who "makes, prints, publishes, distributes, circulates, or has in his possession for the purpose of publication, distribution or circulation any obscene written matter, picture, model, phonograph record or other thing whatever" is guilty of corrupting morals.
The charge is rarely laid, according to lawyer Gil Zvulony, who believes a guilty verdict could act as a deterrent.
"If this guy is convicted, I don't think he's going to go to jail for this," Zvulony said.
"He'll probably get a slap on the wrist. But it will definintely send a message that distributing this kind of video is illegal and it is a crime and you could end up with a criminal record."
Clark of the Edmonton Police said that he's never heard of the charge before.
"Talking to the Crown, they hadn't heard of that charge," he said. "I believe this may be the first time that it's ever been laid in Edmonton."
Clark says the video was posted for about eight days before it was taken down. Clark, who has been a homicide detective for nearly a decade, says he found the Best Gore website shocking.