Magnotta March Prelim Hearing & Trial Day 1 - Sep 29, 2014 - Thread #1

Discussion in 'Luka Rocco Magnotta AKA Eric Newman' started by Snoopster, Mar 10, 2013.

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  1. HastingsChi

    HastingsChi Well-Known Member

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    As an American I find myself increasingly envious of the Canadian system of justice whose unwavering commitment to individual/civil rights includes a publication ban that protects the rights of the accused and, in turn, allows for protection of the fundamental right of presumption of innocence as noted in section 11(d) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

    Canada's commitment to all of the prescribed rights and freedoms of it's citizens should be universally applauded and something everyone here in the United States should be jealous of and admire.

    While it's taken me a few years to reach this conclusion, in the last two years it had been solidified. For years Americans have seen a very disturbing trend which in the last two years become significantly more disturbing: the American media's decision to convict the accused in three court of public opinion long before all of the facts of an investigation/preliminary hearing are determined. The American media has no problem reporting rumor, gossip and outright lies as fact; and when that information reported is found to be inaccurate or completely fabricated the correction fails to attain the front page/top story attention, often it is buried amidst the coverage.

    The American media holds the trial, plays judge and jury using not facts, but pure emotion to rally their viewers into a lynch mob. They fail to educate their audience on facts because, frankly, since they are not actual members of the prosecution team of whatever case they happen to be covering. It is far too often that when watching "coverage" of a case I've followed here at WS that I'm astounded at the plethora of inaccuracies being shared with the audience whereas those of us here do a spot on job of sharing and discussing actual facts and debunking misinformation but since we're not paid talking heads our reach only goes so far.

    I'd ask everyone reading this: If you were charged with a crime you did not commit but since you met the demographic requirements to receive national media attention and there were a few photos of you that while seemingly innocent, could be interpreted by others who don't know you to be titillating and scandalous. Then people from your past who barely knew you or just didn't like you use the national exposure to further demonize you or fabricate things for their own personal gain. By the start of opening statements in your trial for a crime you didn't commit, you've already been given the death penalty by the national lynch mob. Because even if you are acquitted, your life is over.

    As an American, after reading the above, wouldn't you agree that Canada's unwavering commitment to the presumption of innocence, which includes a publication ban is something that should be admired?
    I wish my government valued the rights of its citizens in an unwavering manner like Canada.

    (Note: In the above text I am not referring to any specific case or the guilt or innocence of a specific defendant. The above uses a mosaic of elements to illustrate why as an American I feel the Canadian justice system's publication ban is an important component that is missing from the American justice system.)
     


  2. ToBeHonest

    ToBeHonest New Member

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    I fully agree HastingsChi and have had the same debate (though fruitless) since Magnotta's prelim started. LM, and others, may be as guilty as sin but it isn't our job as the public to determine the guilt of a defendant. It also is not our job to decide what punishment they should receive or what rights they should have prior to conviction. I have unfortunately had many debates with people who feel they are the judge and jury in this case as well as others. Suffice to say, this is why we don't let the average citizen carry out justice on the street as they see fit. I wish more people would think critically as you. Whether LM is guilty, whether he is mentally ill is only for the system to decide. If he's convicted throw the book at him, but anything before conviction is just speculation based on whatever facts have been released.
     
  3. Nhic

    Nhic New Member

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    Publication bans are used during preliminary hearings. In very very rare circumstances they are granted for trials. That's VERY rare, however.

    The media was of course all over this case before Magnotta was arrested. However, the evidence to be used at trial was something the media was not privy to and is still not privy to because of the publication ban at the preliminary hearing.

    The trial will not have a publication ban. The court will be open to anyone who wants to attend.

    :seeya:
     
  4. HastingsChi

    HastingsChi Well-Known Member

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    Thanks.

    While the publication ban legalese does have a very specific criteria that must be met in order to enable it during trial, I understand it is very rarely enacted at trial.

    Yes, Magnotta was featured in the media prior to his arrest given the global manhunt and in Canada it was imperative to alert the public about him given the possibility that he would strike again prior if he was not apprehend.

    I have followed the case closely from the first posts on WS about human remains in the mail and a snuff film (which doesn't fully describe the atrocities in that video); but, given the Canadian government's unwavering commitment to the defendant's presumption of innocence and the rules & restrictions that go with it, I find myself needing to refresh my memory of our initial sleuthing and media accounts prior to his arrest. Whereas if this crime was committed in the US, the media would have spent the past 10 months stirring up the lynch mobs and spewing information that is not verified about the case.

    I would argue that in both the US and Canada there is a necessity to adapt to the connected world of social media and information being unavoidable. In my opinion we are at a tipping point where juries in high profile cases must be sequestered as it has become impossible to avoid all coverage and discussions of high profile cases. It's either that or enact a publication ban during every high visibility case, film the entire case but do not allow it to be viewed by the pubic until after the trial at which point it would be available in it's entirety. Otherwise I can't phathom how it will be possible to choose a truly impartial jury in a high profile case.

    We live in an interesting time in history. I must say that while the US government has no problem ignoring the most basic personal rights at the foundation of our Constitution, it is refreshing that Canada values all of the rights bestowed upon every citizen.
     
  5. Nhic

    Nhic New Member

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    I'm not sure the Canadian Charter has anything to do with current Canadian law in this area, since the laws in this respect predate the Charter.

    Has the U.S. always allowed cameras in the courtroom? Canada has never allowed cameras in the courtroom - with one exception and that is the Supreme Court of Canada. Of course cases before the SCOC aren't trials, they're appeals.

    In Canada the media doesn't have the opportunity to form lynch mobs to boost its ratings like we see in the U.S. Here, with publication bans on the preliminary hearings, the jury pool is less likely to be tainted.

    During recent high profile trials in Canada (i.e. Russ Williams), the court permitted media to tweet the proceedings, which is a nod to the current social media phenomenon. Progress! But that's as far as I believe it should go.

    It's also illegal in Canada for a juror to speak to the media after a trial, or write a book about their experience, whereas in the U.S. jurors are hounded by the media the minute a case has been concluded.

    Two somewhat different systems (with Canada's similar to that of the U.K.).:seeya:
     
  6. Morbida

    Morbida Member

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    :facepalm: I wasn't going to say anything, but... meh. Obviously just my two cents/opinion and all those other overused disclaimers, but: why must we, in comparing the two systems, make it a pissing match (excuse my French) between Canada and the US? The little jabs at America aren't necessary (what do they have to do with the case at hand?) and this isn't the first time I've stumbled upon them while reading the threads here.

    I'm really not trying to rock the boat (and this post isn't directed at anyone in particular), but these Canada, YAY!/America, BOO! comments do get frustrating for some of the Americans (such as myself) who, believe it or not, do happen to be following this case.

    /soapbox
     
  7. HastingsChi

    HastingsChi Well-Known Member

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    I am an American who found it most appropriate to respond to a post that was anti-publication ban. In making my argument for the publication ban I cited not only Canadian law and Canadian doctrine but also demonstrate how such rules enable a defendant in Canada to have their right to presumption of innocence fulfilled. In order to best illustrate this, I used a mosaic of examples of American media "coverage" of cases the media deems high profile to demonstrate how the American media creates a lynch mob mentality when, without facts or evidence, it convicts a defendant in the minds of the public; the same public that a jury of one's peers is chosen, thus clouding a defendant's presumption of innocence.

    For the record, I am proud to be an American and live in a nation founded on inalienable rights bestowed on every citizen; but when such rights are impeded, I am intelligent enough to examine the best examples from great nations across the globe and explain why an alternative is superior.

    Some truth and facts:

    http://youtu.be/16K6m3Ua2nw
     
  8. HastingsChi

    HastingsChi Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for your thoughtful reply nhic.

    To answer your question:
    In 1981, U.S. Supreme Court ruled that each States may adopt rules permitting cameras and recording equipment in their courts. Since that ruling, all 50 states have rules which allow or ban cameras in the courtroom, but it is 50 different sets of rules and these rules vary widely.

    If a case is a federal case (the U.S. vs _______ or [Insert State Name Here] vs _______ is a good way to know if a case is a Federal or State case) coverage of federal courts is far more limited and usually not allowed. The U.S. Supreme Court prohibits camera coverage of its proceedings, though it does release audio recordings of each week's oral arguments at the end of each week and has provided near-contemporaneous access to the audio recordings in several high-profile proceedings since the presidential election cases of 2000.

    That being said, if the accused meets the American media's demographic and interest threshold, the absence of cameras in a courtroom does not impede their desire to sensationalize a particular case with wall-to-wall coverage as long as such coverage will provide increased ratings and/or increased sales.
     
  9. ChelleBelle

    ChelleBelle New Member

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    While Canada's judicial system is not without its flaws, I do appreciate what you're saying. Both countries have been guilty of prosecuting innocent people. I also don't see this as an us vs. them debate with the US, just to point out some interesting differences. I've always found American trials to be huge media circuses that keep the tabloids in business. However, I also think Canada is 'too' liberal in many regards. But as for protecting the rights of the accused.. yeah, we give more consideration and privacy to our criminals (or accused criminals). Publication bans, as I've always understood them, are used primarily to protect the identity of minor victims, and to keep the juror pool as impartial as possible.

    In the case of Magnotta who's defense is being paid for by legal aid (ie: my tax dollars) you'll find the judge is less inclined to keep the public in the dark. Once jury selection is done and the trial begins, the gloves will come off.

    That said, assuming he is found guilty on 1st degree murder, the most he's going to get is 25 years "life sentence". He'll be out when he's 56, and will never have to worry about a death sentence.

    In the US, he'd likely never see the light of day...and depending on the state, could be facing death row.

    In this regard, I think I favour the US way ;)
     
  10. Sillybilly

    Sillybilly Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    Now now, we Canucks aren't the total bleeding hearts that folks think we are ;)

    If convicted on 1st degree in Canada, he will get a life sentence of 25 years with no eligibility to apply for parole during those 25 years. IOW, he would only be eligible to apply after those 25 years, not that it would necessarily be granted. He would remain in prison until such time as he is ever approved for release on parole. IF released on parole at any time after the 25 years, he would remain on parole for the rest of his life.

    Our worst offenders don't usually see the light of day. Clifford Olson sentenced in 1983 to 25 years died in prison 28 years later in 2011, having applied for and been denied parole. Paul Bernardo was sentenced in 1995 to 25 years and declared a Dangerous Offender which makes it unlikely he will ever be released.

    We used to have the Faint Hope Clause where those convicted of 1st degree murder and sentenced to the 25 years w/o parole eligibility could apply for early parole after having served 15 years of their sentence (based on good behaviour, etc). The Criminal Code was amended in December 2011 to abolish that option, and it does not apply to anyone convicted after that date.
     
  11. ChelleBelle

    ChelleBelle New Member

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    Yes, good points. Though, Dangerous Offender status is usually reserved for serial killers. They may have a hard time pinning that one on Magnotta, and unfortunately I don't think they'll take kittens into account... though they should!
     
  12. Katie-L

    Katie-L New Member

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    With Rafferty - he was given 25 years with no possibility of parole before then. It's likely he won't ever be released though. He had no prior record.

    If convicted - Magnotta will likely be charged with a number of crimes in addition to murder. I can't see him ever walking the streets again.

    ...and if he does - I'll want to make sure he's not walking the same streets as anyone I know and love.
     
  13. sumbunny

    sumbunny New Member

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    Unfortunately, I do think he has a chance of walking with that diagnosis in 2005. They seem very light on criminally insane people here. IE-the doctor who drowned his two kids and was sent to a mental hospital for less then 2 years, and is now a free man.

    I do plan on attending the trial if I can get in. I live 40 minutes from the court house.

    I only hope I don't get called for Jury duty...*groans* I can't watch those movies.
     
  14. matou

    matou #los2188

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    MONTREAL - A Crown witness in the Luka Magnotta case has died.

    Eric Schorer, the manager of the building where Magnotta lived, recently died court heard Thursday.

    "I think he died of a heart attack," defence lawyer Luc Leclair said Thursday at the courthouse in Montreal.

    Crown attorney Louis Bouthillier now wants to use Schorer's testimony from the preliminary hearing and his police statement at trial.

    The judge didn't make a decision on those motions.


    http://www.torontosun.com/2014/04/24/crown-witness-in-magnotta-trial-dies
     
  15. Thar

    Thar New Member

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    I'd like to know how important he was for the case...

    Btw. I don't know much about Canadian legal system, is there any chance that someone will be able to take pictures or a video of Magnotta during the process? I'd really like to know how he looks like during the trial.
    Will be interesting to see if he still enjoys it. :D
     
  16. Cracka*Jaxx

    Cracka*Jaxx Well-Known Member

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  17. matou

    matou #los2188

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    Finally! omg...this will be horrible
     
  18. Sillybilly

    Sillybilly Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    Sorry your question went unanswered for so long Thar ... I think everyone got quite saturated with this case, so it has gone quiet, waiting for trial to start in a couple of months.

    Cameras won't be allowed in the courtroom during the trial. Unless a judge rules otherwise for some reason, reporters will probably be allowed to tweet from the courtroom anything that is said in front of the jury. Anything that is said with the jury present cannot be reported.

    from:
    http://www.brockpress.com/2014/03/c...deters-canada-from-televising-magnotta-trial/

     
  19. matou

    matou #los2188

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    [h=1]Luka Magnotta film pulled from Montreal film festival[/h]
    [h=3]Documentary Sex, Fame and Murder: The Luka Magnotta Story pulled 3 weeks before murder trial set to begin[/h]
    The film, Sex, Fame and Murder: The Luka Magnotta Story, was created by Canal D Investigation and, according to a Marble Media press release, promised to take an "up close and personal look into the life of this fame-hungry individual."

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montr...-pulled-from-montreal-film-festival-1.2744297
     
  20. Cracka*Jaxx

    Cracka*Jaxx Well-Known Member

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    I can't imagine Magnotta will have much of a defense. I'll be very curious to see what they come up with.
     
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