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Magnotta case: victim's family wants exhibits kept from public eye

Luka Magnotta is shown in an artist's sketch in a Montreal court on March 13, 2013.The family of the man allegedly murdered by Luka Rocco Magnotta is asking for certain exhibits it says are obscene to remain under wraps permanently. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mike McLaughlin

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Luka Magnotta is shown in an artist's sketch in a Montreal court on March 13, 2013.The family of the man allegedly murdered by Luka Rocco Magnotta is asking for certain exhibits it says are obscene to remain under wraps permanently. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mike McLaughlin

MONTREAL - The family of the man allegedly murdered by Luka Rocco Magnotta wants certain exhibits that are evidence in their son's death to remain under wraps permanently.

Lawyers and the judge who will oversee Magnotta's first-degree murder trial sifted through various legal motions on Thursday.

Magnotta is accused of killing university student Jun Lin, 33, in May 2012.

Diran Lin, the victim's father, wants the court to ensure some exhibits are not made public in any way.

"Those exhibits should not be distributed or published or reproduced because they, in our view, represent obscene materials," said Benoit Lapointe, Diran Lin's lawyer.

"We don't want this material to ever be made available to the public or ever be made accessible."

Those exhibits were presented under a publication ban at a lower-court hearing to determine whether Magnotta, 32, would stand trial.

Mark Bantey, a lawyer representing several media organizations, said outside the courtroom that his clients are in agreement with the family on some exhibits.

But they are disputing that all of the ones presented by Lin's family qualify as obscene.

"Other exhibits are not obscene," Bantey said. "They may be shocking, but they are not obscene and they should be made public."

Quebec Superior Court Justice Guy Cournoyer, who will oversee the trial, deferred his ruling to a later date.

The court has been hearing a number of pre-trial motions in advance of the highly anticipated trial. Jury selection is slated to begin Sept. 8.

Cournoyer told lawyers Thursday he expects the process of finding a bilingual jury will take some time. As a result, evidence is now expected to be heard beginning Sept. 22, one week later than originally planned.

The trial is believed to last between six and eight weeks.

In July, Cournoyer rejected a motion by defence lawyer Luc Leclair to have all evidence at the trial fall under a publication ban.

Cournoyer did maintain a publication ban, however, on the reporting of any evidence that is currently being heard during the various motions or has already been heard and could be presented before the jury.

In addition to the charge of killing Lin, Magnotta is accused of committing an indignity to a body; publishing obscene material; criminally harassing Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other members of Parliament; and mailing obscene and indecent material.

He has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges.

Magnotta was in court on Thursday, sporting short cropped hair and a moustache and dressed in a neon pink T-shirt. He also appeared much heavier than when he was arrested in Berlin in 2012.

He listened impassively to the legal arguments from the prisoner's box.

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