One of Luka Magnotta's lawyers has removed himself from the case.
The crown in the case against the accused killer of Concordia University student Jun Lin raised the issue of possible conflict of interest regarding attorney Raphael Feldstein. Details are protected by a publication ban. Lawyers were supposed to debate the matter but Feldstein voluntarily dropped out.
This was the latest incident during the preliminary hearing of Magnotta, charged with first degree murder and four other related charges. Lin, 33, was killed and dismembered last May, his body parts turning up in different places in Montreal and across the country.
Yesterday, Lin's father was overcome with emotion during the testimony of a Montreal police crime scene investigator and left the courtroom in tears, holding onto his interpreter and his lawyer. He did not return on this third day of the preliminary hearing but his lawyer told reporters he will likely be back tomorrow when the hearing resumes.
Magnotta appeared to be unfazed so far during the hearing, remaining passive, sometimes with his eyes closed. But today, sporting black-rimmed glasses, he appeared to be concentrating on the police testimony, listening intently via his headset that he held onto with his hand.
Magnotta's lead lawyer, Luc Leclair, tried once again this morning to amend the publication ban slapped on the evidence, complaining about a Sun News article referring to the high security surrounding his client, including placing an interpreter on the other side of the glass to provide whispered simultaneous translation; the tall, glassed-in accused's box; and the room itself which the article said was reserved for criminal biker trials. Leclair argued it lumped his client together with bikers and made him look dangerous. Judge Lori Weitzman refused the request.
Earlier this week, Weitzman also rejected a defence motion to block the public and media from the hearing.
The preliminary hearing, which will determine the solidity of the evidence and if the case will go to trial, is expected to last until the end of next week. Another week next month has been reserved if necessary, replacing three other weeks originally scheduled in June.