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Hearing postponed for a day after Magnotta collapses

Court prepares to hear from witnesses in Ottawa and Berlin when preliminary hearing continues

Magnotta's lawyers Luc Leclair (left) and Pierre Panacchio outside the Montreal courtroom. Credit: Adam Scotti
Cracks are appearing in the steely demeanour of the man Crown lawyers say is responsible for one of Canada’s most grisly murders.
 
After spending a week watching emotionlessly as the prosecution presented its case, Luka Magnotta appeared to lose his cool this week as he sat in a Montreal courtroom — at times looking queasy, crying and, today (March 19), fainting inside the prisoner’s box.
 
As Montreal police officer and computer specialist Nadine Paoliello testified and presented evidence before the judge on Tuesday morning, Magnotta cried into a tissue and covered his face with his hand, visibly perturbed. As the Crown began asking its last question of Paoliello, Magnotta stood up and motioned to his guard that he needed five minutes. As the court prepared to recess, Magnotta collapsed on the floor of the prisoner’s box.
 
Magnotta had spent the first week of the preliminary hearing showing little reaction as police brought forward evidence that they say proves he murdered and dismembered Chinese exchange student Lin Jun.
 
All evidence in the case is covered by a publication ban that bars the media from reporting details of the evidence and testimony being presented.
 
After Magnotta dramatically lost consciousness, the court adjourned for lunch. When it returned, Magnotta lawyer Luc Leclair asked the judge to recess until March 20 so that his client could be transported back to the Rivière-des-Prairies detention facility where he is being held. Leclair says that he expects his client, after treatment and rest, will be fine to continue the hearing in the morning.
 

The court has heard from the Montreal police team tasked with investigating the case, as well as employees from Canada Post. The hearing will continue this week, with witnesses from Vancouver, Ottawa, Berlin and Paris scheduled to testify via video link. 

In the video interview below Xtra speaks with Magnotta supporter Kyle Gilgen about why he drove from North Carolina to Montreal to attend the grisly murder trial of the alleged killer.