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Luka Magnotta files appeal of murder conviction

01/19/2015 03:40 EST | Updated 03/21/2015 05:59 EDT
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 Magnotta, 32, guilty of first-degree murder, committing an indignity to a body, publishing obscene material, mailing obscene material and criminal harassment in December.

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."

Leclair also filed a leave to appeal on the same five convictions; citing additional errors in jury instruction, allowing the admission of an email Magnotta sent to a journalist at the U.K.-based Sun newspaper into evidence; and the judge's failure 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. 

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

Magnotta's defence had argued that he should be found not criminally responsible due to mental illness.

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