Magnotta judge tells jury personality disorder is disease of the mind

Magnotta judge tells jury personality disorder is disease of the mind


MONTREAL –The jury at Luka Rocco Magnotta’s murder trial appeared to focus on the mental disorder defence Wednesday as it asked a pointed question before ending a second day of deliberations without a verdict.

“Is a personality disorder a disease of the mind as a matter of law?” the jurors asked the judge as they emerged from their deliberations for the first time.

Quebec Superior Court Justice Guy Cournoyer answered “yes” and told them no more before sending them back to deliberate further on Magnotta’s fate.

They remained holed up and left without asking anything else. They will resume deliberating Thursday.

The accused has admitted to killing and dismembering Jun Lin in May 2012 but his lawyer argues he should be found not criminally responsible because he is schizophrenic and couldn’t tell right from wrong at the time.

The judge had told the jurors in his instructions they should start their work by focusing on the not criminally responsible issue.

Cournoyer also said they would need to answer two questions for the mental disorder defence to be accepted. Firstly, is it more likely than not Magnotta was suffering from a mental disorder at the time of the offence? And secondly, did the disorder make him incapable of knowing the acts were wrong?

The Crown has argued the crimes were planned and deliberate and that the steps Magnotta took to hide his tracks and flee authorities were not consistent with someone suffering from a mental disorder.

Prosecutor Louis Bouthillier said Magnotta’s schizophrenia was a misdiagnosis and that his medical problems and behaviour are likely the result of personality disorders.

The accused faces four other charges in the case: criminally harassing Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other members of Parliament; mailing obscene and indecent material; committing an indignity to a body; and publishing obscene materials.

The eight women and four men began deliberating Tuesday after hearing some 66 witnesses over the 40 days the trial sat.

They will have to consider hundreds of pages of medical files, expert reports and the physical evidence gathered in Montreal as well as Europe.

They must deliver five unanimous verdicts in the case.

Also on Wednesday, Bouthillier told the court a witness from Germany is requesting further reimbursements for having testified at the trial.

Frank Rubert housed Magnotta during his final days of freedom before the accused was arrested in Berlin. He appeared in person at the trial and wants the Canadian courts to refund his cab ride to the airport in the German capital.

He also wants payment for alleged lost wages and the equivalent of 350 euros (about $500) to pay for a dog-watcher in Berlin.

“I can’t for a minute support this man’s word on these matters,” Bouthillier said, adding he has no way of knowing if the receipts are real.

Montreal police, meanwhile, are seeking $100 they say they fronted Rubert for meals while he was in the city.

At one point Wednesday, Cournoyer stood up and walked behind the door through he which he enters the courtoom and began shouting at a group of court staff who were laughing and chatting.

The judge returned to the courtroom and noted one of the group of people he had just scolded was his own boss, the Superior Court chief justice.

Cournoyer noted the people in question likely didn’t know the court was in session as everyone is usually at lunch at that hour.


Magnotta judge tells jury personality disorder is disease of the mind

  1. I think it should be obvious to a gnat that Magnotta is both guilty, and mentally ill.

    Canada needs to bring back institutions for the criminally insane.

  2. Common law has (used to have) an evidence test called “The Ordinary Man [In the judgement of …]”. I think I’m as ordinary as anyone, and this is surely criminal insanity. The Crown’s argument that the crime was planned doesn’t hold water, as profilers tell us many psychopaths are nevertheless highly organized in their criminal behaviour, and some schizophrenics may also be.

  3. I believe that a personality disorder is a disease of the mind and Magnotta is obviously one sick puppy – but – as sick as he may be – he was aware that what he did was wrong – he fled the country to avoid prosecution and that in itself takes away any consideration that he did not know what he was doing was wrong.
    He should be found guilty – life in prison – no possibility of parole for 25 years – because that is the max that we have and at his parole hearing 25 years from now – it should be short and to the point – try again in 25 years at his next parole hearing.

    • Knowing right from wrong is a silly test. Obviously he felt it was right at the time.

      When you’re dealing with someone mentally ill, you can’t apply white-bread suburbanite rules.