Luka Magnotta files appeal of murder conviction

Luka Magnotta, found guilty of first-degree murder in the 2012 death of Jun Lin, has filed an appeal to have his convictions annulled and a new trial ordered.

Jury found Magnotta guilty on 5 charges, including murder, committing an indignity to a body

After exploring their options, the military chose to bring Luka Magnotta home on an Airbus, which can hold up to 194 people when configured for passengers. At the time, it cost an estimated $15,505 per hour to operate. (Canadian Press)

Luka Magnotta, found guilty of first-degree murder in the 2012 death of Jun Lin, has filed an appeal to have his convictions annulled and a new trial ordered.

​A jury in Montreal found the 32-year-old guilty of first-degree murder, committing an indignity to a body, publishing obscene material, mailing obscene material and criminal harassment in December. Magnotta admitted to committing the acts, but his lawyer argued he should be found not criminally responsible due to mental health issues.

The appeal was filed with the Quebec Court of Appeal by Magnotta's Toronto-based lawyer Luc Leclair on Jan. 15. It cites judicial error in jury instruction. It also states that the "verdicts are unreasonable and unsupported by the evidence and the instructions."

A jury's verdict can only be appealed if the trial judge erred in law.

Leclair has also put forward further reasons for a leave to appeal, which require the court's permission before proceeding. 

He said there were errors in jury instruction; the judge should not have allowed an email Magnotta sent to a journalist at the U.K.-based Sun newspaper into evidence; and the judge failed to dismiss a member of the jury "despite the existence of a reasonable grounds of a reasonable apprehension of bias."

Juror 14, who later became juror 12 after the alternates were dismissed, became a point of controversy during the trial after the prosecution raised a potentially problematic link between her and a police officer she knew through her employment.

The officer was not involved in the investigation or the court case against Magnotta. The judge found no reason to believe the juror harboured any bias in favour of the prosecution and she was allowed to remain on the jury.

After eight days of deliberation, the jury returned its verdicts, guilty on all counts, on Dec. 23. Magnotta was given an automatic life sentence with no possibility of parole for 25 years. 

After killing Lin, a 33-year-old Concordia University student in May 2012, Magnotta mailed his body parts to various locations, including Conservative Party headquarters. He then left the country and was arrested in Berlin after an international manhunt was launched by Interpol.

Lin's father, who lives in China, attended the trial and gave an emotional victim impact statement after the verdict was delivered. His mother was too distraught to make the journey and sit through the proceedings.

The lawyer representing the Lin family issued a short statement after the appeal was filed.

"When asked by the family after the verdict of any potential appeals, we told them that the trial judge, Justice Guy Cournoyer, is an experienced, talented and careful judge," the statement from Daniel Urbas reads.  

"He regularly sought consensus from the prosecution and the defence on the many rulings he had to make during the trial. His skill and his approach to obtaining consensus from the prosecution and the defence eliminated most any grounds of appeal for the decisions he had to take."

Magnotta's appeal for a new trial will be heard at the Quebec Court of Appeal in Montreal on Feb. 18.