POLITICS

Jury selection set to begin Tuesday in Magnotta murder trial

09/15/2014 05:12 EDT | Updated 11/15/2014 05:59 EST
MONTREAL - Jury selection is set to begin Tuesday in the first-degree murder trial of Luka Rocco Magnotta.

Magnotta has pleaded not guilty to five charges, including first-degree murder, in connection with the May 2012 slaying and dismemberment of Jun Lin, 33, a Chinese engineering student.

The exhaustive process of selecting a bilingual jury could mean a delay in the presentation of evidence, which is scheduled to start next Monday.

About 300 of the 1,600 people who were originally summoned last week will return for the jury selection process.

The court will vet 24 prospective jurors each day until they have selected a total of 16. Of those, 14 will hear the case.

While the trial will for the most part take place in English, many witnesses will testify in French.

Hundreds of potential jurors received exemptions last week, mostly because they said they were not proficient enough in both languages.

Besides the murder charge, Magnotta has pleaded not guilty to committing an indignity to a body; publishing obscene material; criminally harassing Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other members of Parliament; and mailing obscene and indecent material.

The case began with the discovery of a human torso stuffed in trash behind a Montreal apartment building in May 2012. Body parts then began surfacing in different parts of Canada _ first at federal political offices in Ottawa and, later, at two British Columbia schools.

A video that purportedly depicted a slaying was posted online around the same time and was linked by Montreal police to the discovery of the body parts.

Quebec Superior Court Justice Guy Cournoyer, who will oversee the trial, warned potential jurors last week they would hear evidence that could be difficult to deal with because of the violence and the sexual character of some exhibits.

Magnotta is a native of Scarborough, Ont., who, according to police, set up dozens of Internet user names and maintained 70 Facebook pages and 20 websites.

As the case progressed, Magnotta was discovered to have left the country, triggering an international police manhunt that Montreal police said was the largest in which they had taken part.

Interpol became involved and Magnotta was arrested without incident at a Berlin Internet cafe on June 4, several days after Lin's slaying.

He returned to Canada a few weeks later, escorted by several Montreal police major-crimes detectives aboard a Canadian government plane.