MONTREAL - Luka Rocco Magnotta made a brief, surprise appearance in a Montreal courtroom Thursday to tie up a few loose ends in his case before vanishing from public view until early 2013.

The accused body-parts killer had court dates set for early next year and was told he will face a preliminary hearing next March where part of the evidence against him will be heard.

Magnotta, charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of Chinese student Jun Lin, 33, has opted for a trial in front of a jury.

Magnotta introduced his team of three lawyers, including a lead attorney from Toronto. That lawyer did not ask for a psychiatric evaluation, contrary to what one of his colleagues suggested earlier in the week.

His lead lawyer expressed concern about the treatment Magnotta is getting at the detention centre where he's being held. He said he wants to ensure his client gets the medication he needs. Details related to that request are covered under a publication ban.

There was one other surprise twist Thursday: Magnotta appeared in court in person. Authorities had hinted that the 29-year-old murder suspect would appear by video link, as he had at his first court appearance earlier this week.

While Magnotta looked sleepy, he appeared to follow the proceedings attentively. Wearing a plaid shirt and dark blue jeans, Magnotta kept his eyes on the judge during the brief appearance. He didn't say anything, save a few brief discussions with a lawyer through the thick glass.

His lead defence attorney, Luc Leclair, made a brief statement at the end of the hearing.

"Mr. Magnotta waived his rights to extradition because he wanted to come back to Montreal," Leclair said, without taking any questions.

"He trusts the Canadian judicial system."

At the request of his legal team, Magnotta was ferried to the courthouse Thursday from the Montreal detention centre that will be his home until the trial.

The 29-year-old was impassive as he stood in a pen behind thick glass panels inside the courtroom.

There were at least seven guards in the room. Magnotta was flanked by two in the prisoner's box, with a third nearby. Four others stood outside the prisoner's box, around the heavily fortified courtroom reserved for dangerous offenders.

Twelve journalists, including two sketch artists, sat in the gallery. There didn't appear to be any members of the public present.

The Crown would not confirm rumours that Jun Lin's family observed the hearing from an undisclosed location. Montreal La Presse reported that the family was spotted at the courthouse under a heavy protective escort.

Prosecutors did confirm they met with the family earlier Thursday. They have kept a low profile since arriving in Canada to collect Lin's remains, publishing a letter calling Lin "our pride and hope."

Prosecutors have promised to keep the family abreast of developments in the case, and to seek to provide comfort that Canada's justice system is properly handling it.

"The family was met by both prosecutors and our team at the (public prosecution) office, and we want to make sure they get the information about the process, to make sure they know what happens," Jean-Pascal Boucher told reporters.

Magnotta is accused of the first-degree murder of university student Lin, along with defiling his corpse. He is also charged with harassing Prime Minister Stephen Harper and MPs, and publishing and mailing obscene material. He has pleaded not guilty.

Magnotta arrived in Canada on Monday, shackled and surrounded by heavy security as he was returned from Germany aboard a military plane.

Leclair said he has already had meetings with Crown prosecutors about the Magnotta file and is waiting for them to disclose evidence.

Outside the courtroom, Leclair thanked Magnotta's Berlin lawyer for her work as well as a psychiatrist at the Berlin jail for "exemplary care" while Magnotta was in Germany. But he said that's all he'd have to say during the case.

"I have advised my Montreal colleagues not to make any comments," Leclair added. "Comments will be made and addressed to the judge in court."

- with files from Andy Blatchford

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  • Photos from the family of Jun Lin, the victim of Luka Magnotta were given to media Tuesday, April 2, 2013 in Montreal. Preliminary hearing is underway for Luka Rocco Magnotta, the man charged in connection with the infamous body-parts case that made international headlines.

  • Photos from the family of Jun Lin, the victim of Luka Magnotta were given to media Tuesday, April 2, 2013 in Montreal. Preliminary hearing is underway for Luka Rocco Magnotta, the man charged in connection with the infamous body-parts case that made international headlines.

  • Photos from the family of Jun Lin, the victim of Luka Magnotta were given to media Tuesday, April 2, 2013 in Montreal. Preliminary hearing is underway for Luka Rocco Magnotta, the man charged in connection with the infamous body-parts case that made international headlines.

  • Photos from the family of Jun Lin, the victim of Luka Magnotta were given to media Tuesday, April 2, 2013 in Montreal. Preliminary hearing is underway for Luka Rocco Magnotta, the man charged in connection with the infamous body-parts case that made international headlines.

  • Photos from the family of Jun Lin, the victim of Luka Magnotta were given to media Tuesday, April 2, 2013 in Montreal. Preliminary hearing is underway for Luka Rocco Magnotta, the man charged in connection with the infamous body-parts case that made international headlines.

  • Photos from the family of Jun Lin, the victim of Luka Magnotta were given to media Tuesday, April 2, 2013 in Montreal. Preliminary hearing is underway for Luka Rocco Magnotta, the man charged in connection with the infamous body-parts case that made international headlines.

  • Photos from the family of Jun Lin, the victim of Luka Magnotta were given to media Tuesday, April 2, 2013 in Montreal. Preliminary hearing is underway for Luka Rocco Magnotta, the man charged in connection with the infamous body-parts case that made international headlines.

  • Photos from the family of Jun Lin, the victim of Luka Magnotta were given to media Tuesday, April 2, 2013 in Montreal. Preliminary hearing is underway for Luka Rocco Magnotta, the man charged in connection with the infamous body-parts case that made international headlines.

  • Photos from the family of Jun Lin, the victim of Luka Magnotta were given to media Tuesday, April 2, 2013 in Montreal. Preliminary hearing is underway for Luka Rocco Magnotta, the man charged in connection with the infamous body-parts case that made international headlines.

  • Photos from the family of Jun Lin, the victim of Luka Magnotta were given to media Tuesday, April 2, 2013 in Montreal. Preliminary hearing is underway for Luka Rocco Magnotta, the man charged in connection with the infamous body-parts case that made international headlines.

  • Luka Rocco Magnotta is shown in an artist's sketch in a Montreal court on Wednesday, March 13, 2013. Magnotta has collapsed in court during his preliminary hearing.The notorious suspect in a killing and dismemberment case had been listening to evidence against him, whose contents are subject to a publication ban.

  • Daran Lin, father of murder victim Jun Lin, leaves the courthouse in Montreal on Tuesday, March 12, 2013. Preliminary hearing is set to start for Luka Rocco Magnotta, the man charged in connection with the infamous body-parts case that made international headlines.

  • Luka Rocco Magnotta is seen in an artist's sketch in a Montreal court on Monday, March 11, 2013. A preliminary hearing is set to start for Magnotta, the man charged in connection with the infamous body-parts case that made international headlines.Magnotta's lawyers want the public and media barred from attending the hearing, which is to determine if there is enough evidence for a trial.

  • Daran Lin, father of murder victim Jun Lin, leaves court with his translator Daran Lin in Montreal on Tuesday, March 12, 2013. Preliminary hearing is set to start for Luka Rocco Magnotta, the man charged in connection with the infamous body-parts case that made international headlines.

  • Alleged killer Luka Rocco Magnotta is seen in court on a artist drawing Wednesday, January 9, 2013 in Montreal. Magnotta is charged with first-degree murder in the slaying and dismemberment of Chinese engineering student Jun Lin.

  • Luka Rocco Magnotta is taken by police from a Canadian military plane to a waiting van on Monday, June 18, 2012 in Mirabel, Quebec. Magnotta, the lone suspect in a brutal Montreal killing that made headlines around the world, is back home to face justice on Canadian soil. (Montreal Police)

  • Magnotta lands in Canada (Montreal Police)

  • Magnotta lands in Canada (Montreal Police)

  • Mug shot of Luka Rocco Magnotta, released by Montreal Police on Tuesday, June 5, 2012. Magnotta told a judge Tuesday he will not fight his extradition from Germany to Canada, Berlin police say. Magnotta is wanted in Canada on several charges, including first-degree murder, in connection with the killing and dismemberment of Chinese national Jun Lin. (AP Photo/Montreal Police Service via The Canadian Press)

  • Vancouver Police Deputy Chief Warren Lemcke speaks during a news conference after a human hand was delivered to a school and a human foot to another in Vancouver, B.C., on Tuesday June 5, 2012. Montreal police later confirmed the packages are connected to the dismembered body of a Chinese student found in Montreal last week and the international manhunt for his killer. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)

  • A man walks his dog past St. George's School where a human foot was delivered to the school earlier in the day in Vancouver, B.C., on Tuesday June 5, 2012. A human hand was also delivered to another Vancouver school Tuesday. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)

  • A television cameraman films parents and students at False Creek Elementary School after a human hand was delivered to the school earlier in the day in Vancouver, B.C., on Tuesday June 5, 2012. A human foot was also delivered to another Vancouver school Tuesday. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)

  • A police car leaves the central police detention facility of Berlin supposedly carrying Luka Rocco Magnotta to a Berlin court Tuesday, June 5, 2012. Luka Magnotta, 29, a Canadian porn actor suspected of murdering and dismembering a Chinese was arrested on Monday at an Internet cafe. A cafe employee recognized Magnotta from a newspaper photo and flagged down a police car. (AP Photo/dapd/ Timur Emek)

  • The internet cafe where Luka Rocco Magnottahe was recognized in the district of Neukoelln in Berlin, Germany, Monday, June 4, 2012. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

  • This image taken from CCTV obtained by Associated Press video shows Luka Rocco Magnotta entering the Internet cafe in the district of Neukoelln in Berlin, Germany, Monday, June 4, 2012, where Kadir Anlayisli, who works in the cafe recognized him. "I looked at him and thought I knew him from somewhere, because I read newspapers every day," Anlayisli said. (AP Photo/AP Video)

  • This image taken from CCTV obtained by Associated Press video shows Kadir Anlayisli, a cafe worker waiting for police in the doorway of the Internet cafe in the district of Neukoelln in Berlin, Germany, Monday, June 4, 2012, where Luka Rocco Magnotta was arrested. (AP Photo/AP Video)

  • This image taken from CCTV obtained by Associated Press video shows police entering the Internet cafe shortly after. (AP Photo/AP Video)

  • This image taken from CCTV obtained by Associated Press video shows Luka Rocco Magnotta, 2nd left, being removed by police from the Internet cafe. (AP Photo/AP Video)

  • Kadir Anlayisli stands next to the computer where he recognized Luka Rocco Magnotta. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

  • The Interpol alert, which shows various photos and a discription of Luka Rocco Magnotta. (AP Photo/Interpol/dapd)

  • This surveillance image provided by Interpol shows Luka Rocco Magnotta at a security checkpoint. (AP Photo/Interpol)

  • In a Wednesday, May 30, 2012 photo, janitor Eric Schoer looks at a blood-stained fridge at an apartment rented by suspect Luka Rocco Magnotta, where police believe a man was murdered and dismembered, in Montreal. (The Canadian Press, Ryan Remiorz)

  • A police officer removes a package containg a human foot from the Conservative Party headquarters in Ottawa on Tuesday, May 29, 2012. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)

  • The following is a series of photos and self-portraits posted by Magnota on various websites (Facebook)

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