Magnotta trial witnesses can testify in Europe: Judge

Luka Rocco Magnotta at the courthouse in Montreal, Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014. (DELF BERG/QMI Agency...

Luka Rocco Magnotta at the courthouse in Montreal, Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014. (DELF BERG/QMI Agency Illustration)

Brian Daly, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:48 PM ET

MONTREAL — The international twists to Luka Magnotta's murder case continued Friday when a judge allowed for 35 foreign witnesses to testify in France and Germany.

Judge Guy Cournoyer said Magnotta's right to a fair trial wouldn't automatically be compromised by having a foreign court official interview police and other witnesses in Europe, possibly in May.

The defence objected to the foreign interviews on the grounds that cross-examination isn't a fundamental right in Europe, as it is in Canada.

The Crown contends it's logistically impossible to fly 35 people to Montreal for Magnotta's trial, scheduled to begin in September.

The 31-year-old Toronto sex-trade worker is accused of murdering and dismembering Chinese student Jun Lin, 33, in May 2012.

The former porn actor fled to Paris and was captured in Berlin a week after Lin's death in Montreal.

Police in Paris and Berlin played a major role in tracking down and arresting Magnotta. Several citizens in France and Germany who provided tips to police might also be of interest to the Crown.

Magnotta's lawyer, Luc Leclair, has expressed concerns about witnesses being interviewed without a jury present.

Judge Cournoyer, however, cited a 2007 Supreme Court ruling that says transnational crime fighting is increasingly common.

He also said the foreign testimony gathered in this case might not even make it to the jury.

"Whether the process to take evidence in this case can be said to be contrary to the principles of fundamental justice is something that will be evaluated by this court after the evidence has been taken," Cournoyer said during a 30-minute ruling from the bench.


Videos

Photos