'Canadian Psycho' lawyers to ask for closed hearing

OTTAWA (AFP) - Lawyers for a man accused of a gruesome killing and dubbed the "Canadian Psycho" will ask a judge to ban the public from his preliminary hearing scheduled to start next week, the defence told AFP on Monday.

A court document in the case of Luka Rocco Magnotta, obtained from the defence, does not explain the reasons for wanting to keep the public out of the proceedings, except to say "the ends of justice will be best served by doing so."

The rest of the paragraph is partially blacked out but appears to point to Magnotta taking medication for a history of mental illness.

Magnotta, an occasional porn actor and escort, is accused of slaying and dismembering a Chinese student in Montreal last year.

A preliminary hearing, in which a judge decides whether there is enough evidence for prosecution, is set to begin on March 11. It is rare for such proceedings to be held behind closed doors.

According to police, Magnotta is believed to have used an ice pick to stab his alleged victim in late May 2012 before carving up his body, sexually abusing the corpse, filming the act and posting the video online.

Days after the killing, Montreal police discovered the victim's torso in a suitcase by the trash outside an apartment along a busy highway.

His severed hands and feet were sent through the mail to federal political parties in Ottawa and to two schools in Vancouver. The head was found in a Montreal park.

Magnotta was arrested in Germany after fleeing Canada, and was extradited back home.

He has pleaded not guilty to first degree murder and other charges, including committing indignities to a body.

He faces life imprisonment if convicted.

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