Luka Rocco Magnotta’s extradition from Germany could take years, lawyer says
OTTAWA—It could take up to two years for murder suspect Luka Rocco Magnotta to be extradited from Germany to stand trial here. More, if he decides to fight every step of the way.
For those who’d like nothing more than to hear nothing more about the narcissistic Canadian who was arrested in Berlin surfing news about himself, get ready.
“It’s the flipside of the Karl Heinz Schreiber case,” said Vancouver lawyer Gary Botting, who wrote the Canadian Extradition Law Practice.
In an interview with the Star, Botting said Schreiber’s 10-year battle to fight extradition from Canada to face tax evasion charges generated “huge headlines” in Germany every time. “I think the same thing is going to happen here.”
The Canada-Germany Extradition Treaty was never formally ratified, but it is the guiding legal document and lays out the principles that apply, as well as a timeline of what to expect, said Botting.
Under it, Canada and Germany agree to extradite individuals charged with an act that is a criminal offence in each. Germany does not extradite anyone to face the death penalty. That doesn’t apply here as Canada doesn’t have the death penalty. Unlike Canada, Germany does not extradite its nationals, preferring to prosecute within Germany. Magnotta is a Canadian citizen.
Canada has 45 days from Magnotta’s arrest to file a formal extradition request, called a “record of the case,” which triggers the judicial proceedings.
Germany would then schedule an extradition hearing, possibly assigning Magnotta a lawyer if he cannot afford one. A defence lawyer may request time to become briefed, so Botting estimates it might take six months before a hearing is held.
Magnotta has 30 days after a decision of the court to appeal to the local minister of justice. He could argue he would not get a fair trial in Canada or he could argue he is not fit to stand trial, says Botting. The minister has 90 days before making a decision whether to surrenderMagnotta, which can be extended for another 60 days. The suspect then has 30 days to appeal a minister’s decision to surrender him to Canada to a court of appeal — a process that could take another six months “because courts are busy and lawyers have to prepare factums.”
After that, says Botting, the suspect could appeal a negative ruling to the national court of Germany, the equivalent of the Supreme Court of Canada.
He guessed it would be at least 18 months to 2 years “if every deadline is met” before a decision is made, more if Magnotta decides to drag it out.
“Motivation is a huge factor here. He won’t be motivated to come back to Canada right away necessarily,” says Botting. “If he’s publicity-seeking, that’s exactly playing into his hands. He’s going to fight it every step of the way.”
Moreover, says Botting, extraditions are a hot topic in Europe right now, with a controversy roaring around the use of European warrants — created to ease inter-country transfers of wanted criminals, much the way Canadian provinces easily transfer suspects across provincial boundaries. Sweden and Norway almost never extradite anymore, and Germany’s following suit, he said.
Canada has extradited Schreiber, Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel and Walter Ebke, a resident of the Northwest Territories wanted on terrorism charges in Germany. However, Botting does not recall a recent case where Germany extradited a citizen to face justice in Canada.
Justice Minister Rob Nicholson’s office issued a statement Monday saying Magnotta was arrested on “an Interpol Red notice which under German law constitutes a provisional request from Canada for his extradition. Pursuant to the Canada-Germany Treaty on extradition, Canada has to now submit a formal request for his extradition accompanied by documentation outlining the evidence supporting the request.”
“Officials with the International Assistance Group (IAG) are working expeditiously in conjunction with officials from the Attorney General of Quebec (the prosecuting authority) to prepare the materials in support of the request. Mr. Magnotta is scheduled to make a first appearance in court in Berlin tomorrow morning,” said spokeswoman Julie DiMambro in an email.
“Canada will continue to be advised of the progress of this matter through the German courts.”
Defending French Open women’s champion Li Na of China lost in the fourth round today to Yaroslava Shvedova 3-6 6-2 6-0.
This is a shocking result because Shvedova isn’t even ranked in the WTA top 100 she’s a qualifier!
Li Na had a real chance to win this match but lost the plot after the first set. This is a disappointing result I really was hoping Li Na could turn around her poor form in 2012 and win another grand slam. Li made too many unforced errors I fear the pressure of being the first Asian woman to win a grand slam got to her.
Neil Patrick Harris and his partner David Burtka are so adorable on this clip from the television show The Chew. Neil and David have dated for eight years and they are parents to two children.
Luka Rocco Magnotta arrested in Berlin, police confirm
Luka Magnotta, the fugitive “Canadian psycho” killer, has been nabbed in Berlin, German police say.
Magnotta was picked up in an Internet café in the German capital, the newspaper Bild reports.
Berlin police have confirmed the arrest.
Earlier, Montreal police said they expected the 29-year-old’s lust for attention would be his downfall sooner or later.
Magnotta had been the subject of an international manhunt for the gruesome killing and dismemberment of a student in Montreal. The self-described porn star had first been detected in France by police using his cellphone as a beacon. They even managed to find a hotel room where he had been staying.
“The man was seen in France, that’s what French authorities told us,” police spokesman Ian Lafreniere told reporters. Lafreniere cautioned that Magnotta may no longer be in that country, and wouldn’t rule out the possibility he had headed elsewhere in Europe or could eventually try to return to Canada.
“He can travel, he’s someone who has been known to travel, so we’re not taking any chances and we want to keep an open mind,” Lafreniere said. “We’ve received more than 360 tips, it’s huge, people really want to help.”
Magnotta, dubbed the Canadian psycho in the European press, is wanted in the gruesome slaying of Jun Lin, 33, a Chinese student at Montreal’s Concordia University. Lin’s torso was found in a suitcase left for garbage collection outside Magnotta’s Montreal apartment last week. Other severed body parts, including a hand and a foot, were mailed to the offices of the federal Conservatives and Liberals.
Police believe Lin was killed and his body dismembered either on May 24 or 25 in a Montreal apartment. A 10-minute video showing what transpired was then posted online.
French media reported Sunday that personal belongings of the porn actor were found in a hotel in suburban Paris. The reports said police discovered pornographic magazines as well as air-sickness bags from the airplane he took to Paris from Montreal.
Le Figaro reported that police were able to pinpoint part of Magnotta’s itinerary through his cellphone activity. It was unclear whether Magnotta was still in the Paris area on Sunday, but Le Figaro reported that authorities had beefed up their presence at railway stations and airports.
Having earlier indicated that Magnotta is good at disguising himself, Lafreniere said Saturday that the suspect could now be anywhere in Europe, though authorities haven’t ruled out the possibility he may be back in Canada.
Police described Magnotta as being 5 feet, 8 inches tall and about 135 pounds, with black hair and blue eyes.
Interpol has issued an international alert out for Magnotta, 29, who was born Eric Clinton Newman and has also used the name Vladimir Romanov. Pictures posted Sunday on Magnotta’s page on the Interpol website show a man with dark hair and a black Mickey Mouse shirt passing through airport security. The airport wasn’t identified.
Magnotta arrived at the Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport on May 26 and was later identified on surveillance cameras, according to Le Figaro. He was apparently put up for one night by a man who later contacted authorities after realizing who his guest had been.
One published report said Magnotta was spotted in a bar and in a hotel where he spent two nights. Another French newspaper, Le Parisien, quoted the manager of a bar who said Magnotta ordered a soft drink at his establishment last Wednesday night and appeared “very nervous.”
The bar manager said the fugitive left with a man who had an “impressive physique.”
An official in the Paris prosecutor’s office, speaking on condition of anonymity, said police are looking into the alleged sightings but had no additional details.
Meanwhile, the Chinese embassy in Ottawa has issued a statement advising Chinese visitors to Canada to take safety precautions.
With files from The Associated Press and Michel Dolbec