WARNING: Due to the nature of the trial, this column contains graphic content.
MONTREAL - Grindr: A global gay social media website for hooking up.
Bareback Vibes: A gay porn film.
Coffee grounds enema: Unclear but insinuated as a precursor for gay sexual activity.
Jun Lin, the Chinese exchange student murdered and dismembered in May 2012 had a Grindr account.
Computer records indicate he downloaded Bareback Vibes to his laptop the month before he was killed.
A Skype conversation with a man he’d met in a Montreal gay bar referenced the coffee grounds enema.
And somehow a first-degree murder trial descended Wednesday into a lewd exposition about a certain kind of wanton gay sex lifestyle.
The jury here may be wondering why they were up and down like Jacks-in-the-box, sent out of the courtroom on a half a dozen occasions so that lawyers and the judge could argue among themselves. These legal pyrotechnics cannot yet be disclosed because they occurred in the jury’s absence.
But the jurors heard quite enough from defence lawyer Luc Leclair to readily grasp where his trial plan is going.
“Relevance,” Quebec Supreme Court Justice Guy Cournoyer wearily reminded Leclair at one juncture, in the jury’s presence.
A Toronto-based francophone lawyer, Leclair represents Scarborough-raised Luka Rocca Magnotta, who has admitted to the physical acts of killing Lin, cutting up his corpse and mailing body parts to addresses across the country, including both the Liberal and Progressive Conservative party offices in Ottawa.
But Magnotta has pleaded not guilty to the five charges he’s facing. Leclair will argue that his client suffered from schizophrenia and should be found not criminally responsible — mentally unsound.
We were a long way from psychosis yesterday, however, and ankle-deep into the gutter of what many would categorize as seamy gay promiscuity.
Difficult to fathom, unless Leclair is attempting to portray Lin as a reckless adventure seeker who willingly acquiesced to bondage and sadomasochistic sex with Magnotta in a mutually pleasing encounter that went crazily off the rails sometime between May 23-24, in the defendant’s second-floor studio apartment.
Before Magnotta uploaded a videotape of Lin’s dismemberment onto the Internet, as court as heard.
Before Magnotta sawed off Lin’s head and dumped it in a Montreal park, as court as heard.
Before Magnotta stuff Lin’s torso into a suitcase and left it in an alley, as court as heard.
Before Magnotta fled to Paris, then Berlin, as court as heard.
It was in Berlin that Magnotta — a gay model and two-bit porn film actor — was arrested on June 4, 2012, after the gruesome discovery of Lin’s remains triggered an Interpol manhunt.
The victim’s former boyfriend, Feng Lin, took the stand Tuesday to describe their two-year relationship.
“He was my lover.”
They’d met originally in Beijing and Feng, a software manager, followed Lin to Montreal in 2010. They broke up in May 2012, in part because Jun Lin, Feng said, was being pressured by his parents to marry a woman. They were not aware their son was a homosexual.
Feng left Montreal on May 13 to spend the summer in China. At that point, Lin had just moved out of the apartment they shared and was staying with someone else. They still exchanged up to 50 texts a day. The last response Feng received from Jun Lin was May 25. Though he continued sending texts, nothing from Lin came back.
Feng went to Thailand on holiday but became increasingly worried. He’d seen on the Internet reports of a dismembered body discovered in Montreal. “But at that time it didn’t cross my mind that it was him.”
During a layover in Doha, Qatar, on the return journey, Feng received a phone call from a mutual acquaintance that the body had been identified as Jun Lin and that police had seen the “murder video.”
Feng immediately returned to Montreal. “It was only after my arrival here that I did look at the first part of the video,” Feng told Crown attorney Louis Bouthillier in direct examination.
“I saw a man tied in the bed.”
Not Jun Lin, blessedly. “I came to the conclusion that surely it wasn’t him.”
So Feng contacted police to report his ex missing, to let them know the ID was wrong.
As court has heard, the opening 53 seconds on the video depict another Asian man also bound and tied on Magnotta’s bed, where the crime allegedly took place. Lin appears later in the video, for 10 minutes.
Then Leclair began his cross-examination of Feng — flown in from China to testify, dressed in a conservative grey suit, looking very much like the 35-year-old professional that he is — launching with a bewildering, preemptive apology.
“I want to offer my sympathies to you for the loss of your friend. I feel bad for you and your friend. And that this is not about your friend. The trial is about the state of mind of Mr. Magnotta.”
Then it became all about Jun Lin.
“I can’t believe I’m hearing this,” objected Bouthillier, who complained that Leclair was making a statement rather than posing questions.
Astonishingly, it what sounded more like a thinly veiled threat rather a query — the kind of number police investigators routinely pull on suspects when trying to elicit a confession — Leclair said to the witness: “I want to speak to you that it’s very clear where I’m going, that I have a lot of information about (Jun Lin).
“The more you volunteer, the more I have to confront you.”
What Feng had testified under direct was that he and Lin had never engaged in bondage, that Lin had never participated in gay social networking while they were together, but that he knew Lin had a Grindr account. To his knowledge, Feng added, the website depicted partly naked men.
“Full frontal nudity?” asked Leclair.
“Impossible. Only semi-nude.”
Feng said he’d accompanied Lin to the Montreal gay club, the Sky Barr, on just one occasion. He claimed to know nothing about a man, “Emile,” Lin had allegedly met there, with whom he’d later communicated via Skype, only days after Feng left for China, and that they’d had sex.
“Does that surprise you?” Leclair asked.
Feng: “We had split up at that time already, so he had all his freedom.”
Leclair continued: “I’m suggesting to you that there’s a lot of things you did not know about Lin Jun.”
Jury out. Jury in.
Feng later said he had no recall of Lin posting a picture of himself on Valentine’s Day in 2012, with purple hair and broken teeth under the title “My Self Portrait”, though Lin may have done so.
Leclair also implied that Jun Lin, a Concordia University student working part time as a convenience store clerk, was something of a kept man. Feng paid the rent and gave Lin money sometimes for food, the witness agreed.
Feng did not deny telling police, in a 2012 interview, about Lin: “He can hook up with total strangers.”
But this, Feng stressed, was an observation made about his ex-lover after they’d broken up. When together, he insisted their relationship was monogamous.
After listing some of the porn videos that Lin downloaded, Leclair put the question bluntly to the witness: “Did he have any interest in S & M (sado-masochism)?”
“During the period I was with him, he did not manifest any interest in this whatsoever,” Feng responded.
Leclair began showing Feng graphic stills from one of the films, Extreme Pleasures 2. Feng was obviously unhappy with the images presented, imploring the judge: “Do I have to look at these pictures?”
Leclair put the question again. “Are you swearing under oath that he never discussed with you about anything to do with S & M?”
Feng: “I confirm that.”
At 5 p.m., the witness was done here, booked for a flight home to Beijing Thursday.
A man who’d loved a man and stayed true to his memory under the terrible glare of a pitiless murder trial.