MONTREAL - The task of finding a jury to hear Luka Rocco Magnotta's murder trial continued Tuesday with prospective jurors providing some memorable reasons for requesting exemptions.
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.
A bilingual jury of 14 people will hear the case.
One of the most striking reasons for opting out came from a woman who appeared before Quebec Superior Court Justice Guy Cournoyer on Tuesday and told him flatly that her spouse was involved with a criminal biker gang.
"My partner is a member in good standing of the Hells Angels," she told Cournoyer.
Cournoyer granted her exemption and quickly sent her on her way. He did likewise for many others for a variety of reasons, including health concerns and school or work commitments.
Some 800 people have already been summoned to the Montreal courthouse this week, with another 800 to come Wednesday and Thursday.
Those who aren't excluded this week will return next week for the selection process.
While the case will for the most part take place in English, many witnesses will testify in French.
Magnotta has pleaded not guilty to the murder charge and the four others: 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.
Magnotta, 32, watched from the prison dock as the process unfolded for a second day.
On Tuesday, those who were not bilingual were told to leave immediately, allowing the court to deal only with exemptions that didn't have to do with language.
The majority of exemptions granted Monday were language-related.
Cournoyer warned those who were leaving that lying about language proficiency could be an indictable offence.
There were a lot of tears on Tuesday — one woman was granted an exemption, overwhelmed at the prospect of not being able to pick up her children should she be selected.
Another cried as she told the judge she couldn't handle eight weeks of hearing the details of the case.
But others were more creative with their excuses: one man cited political convictions and said he didn't believe in the justice system. When the judge seemed unconvinced, he added he wasn't bilingual.
An elderly gentleman was exempted after he told Cournoyer he has an undiagnosed sleep disorder and getting to court for 9:30 a.m. would pose a problem.
Another man who'd served on a double-murder jury in the last two years was the last person to get an exemption Tuesday.
Evidence will be presented starting Sept. 22 and is expected to last between six and eight weeks.