POLITICS

Four women and three men jurors selected so far in Magnotta murder trial

09/17/2014 11:29 EDT | Updated 06/16/2017 00:55 EDT
MONTREAL - The number of jurors chosen to hear evidence at Luka Rocco Magnotta's first-degree murder trial reached seven on Wednesday with the addition of two more.

The latest selections were a male university professor and a woman who works in public relations.

So far, four women and three men have been picked.

Magnotta, 32, 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.

Magnotta was not handcuffed as he listened to each candidate being questioned.

Potential jurors are being asked whether they have formed an opinion in the case and, if so, whether they can put it aside.

They are also asked if they were educated in English or French, if they read newspapers and magazines, listen to the radio or watch TV in either language, and whether they would be able to read and understand a 100-page report if it were written in French.

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

While the proceedings will take place mostly in English, many witnesses will testify in French.

About 24 potential jurors were processed on both Tuesday and Wednesday. The pace will pick up Thursday, with 36 people scheduled to appear before Crown and defence lawyers and trial judge Guy Cournoyer.

The process will continue until 16 people have been picked — 14 jurors and two alternates who will serve as a safeguard until the trial begins. Ultimately, 14 jurors will hear the case and a dozen will deliberate on the final verdict.

Cournoyer has told the jurors they are forbidden from discussing the case with anyone outside of the jury and that they must refrain from researching it or discussing it online themselves.

The trial, which is expected to last between six and eight weeks, is scheduled to begin hearing evidence this coming Monday.

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.