Luka Rocco Magnotta hardly blinked as he entered a Montreal courtroom this afternoon. His arms and ankles bound in cuffs, his white patterned shirt tucked severely into blue jeans, he shuffled into a glassed-in prisoners box and stared blankly through the window as judge Jean-Pierre Boyer entered the courtroom. If there was an antithesis of Magnotta’s carefully constructed online persona—the globetrotting model, the reality TV star, the self-assured hustler—this was it: a sallow, meek-looking man whose face was pockmarked with acne and his shoelaces removed lest he try to kill himself.
It was the second court appearance for the accused murderer and mutilator of university student Jun Lin, and the first in which he appeared in the flesh. Having pled not guilty to five charges, including first-degree murder and the desecration of a corpse, on Tuesday, the man so addicted to his own infamy found out in short order that he would be out of the public eye until 2013—when the pre-trial machinations will begin. Yet to hear his lawyer say it, Magnotta is hardly the picture of cocky confidence these days. “I have some concerns about the institution that Mr. Magnotta is staying at,” said Luc Leclair, who wasn’t present during Magnotta’s Tuesday appearance. “I have attended, I have spoken to the superintendent. They are doing what they have to do, and they are doing correctly, but I want to express my concern for his physical wellbeing and his mental wellbeing.”
Leclair, a short, wiry fellow who bares a resemblance to comedian Ron James, went on to tell the judge that Magnotta needed to be given his medication. The lawyer got up, approached the glass to confirm the dosage with Magnotta, then named the drugs. The following moments were fitting for a man who lived and thrived in a flicker-quick online world: by the time prosecutor Louis Bouthillier stood to ask for a publication ban on Magnotta’s medication type and dosage, several journalists had already committed the information to the Twittersphere.
Though he expressed concern for his client’s compromised mental state—and Magnotta’s medication certainly suggests a host of mental issues—Leclair didn’t ask for a psychiatric evaluation, as was expected. Rather, the Toronto-based lawyer thanked the prosecution for its help bringing him up to speed on the case. The session over, Magnotta was led out of the prisoners’ box, only to be made to shuffle back into court minutes later, along with the judge and lawyers, when Leclair discovered he hadn’t addressed the issue of Magnotta’s bail. According to a La Presse report, Lin’s parents were present at the hearing, though they were not in the courtroom.
In a brief statement to the press following the hearing, Leclair thanked Magnotta’s psychiatrist and court-appointed lawyer in Berlin—”They took care of him in an exemplary fashion”—and suggested Magnotta was the picture of co-operation in the days following his arrest in Berlin. “Mr. Magnotta waived his extradition rights because he wanted to come back to Montreal. He trusts the Canadian judicial system.”