In today’s Toronto Star columnist Rosie DiManno bemoans the fact that Jun Lin, Luka Magnotta’s innocent victim has been “sidelined” during the current trial. In fact in court on Wednesday there was no mention whatsoever of the Chinese student who was unfortunate enough to fall into Magnotta’s clutches.
Unfair though that may seem, it is correct. This isn’t Jun Lin’s trial, it is Magnotta’s. He’s the one charged. In this case there is a different ripple in that he has admitted he carried out the gruesome murder and dismemberment of Jun Lin, but claims he was mentally ill and therefore not criminally responsible for his actions. Convincing the jury of his mental state has nothing to do with the victim.
During the O.J. Simpson criminal murder trial the same was often said about victims Nicole Simpson Brown and Ron Goldman; that they were often forgotten. But again, it wasn’t a trial about them, it was all about determining the guilt or innocence of the accused.
In the Simpson trial most people had him pegged as guilty long before the Ford Bronco came to a halt.
But imagine a trial where as a juror you have no idea of guilt or innocence, no prejudices, and are going to base your decision solely on the evidence presented, as in innocent until proven guilty – just like the system is supposed to function. Or, hypothetically, let’s assume there is a trial and you know the accused is innocent, in fact you are the accused. No amount of references to the victim or how heinous the crime was should sway the jury to thinking you did it.
I believe it is normal human nature to side with innocent victims, to empathize with grieving families, but that doesn’t mean the person charged and sitting at the defense table is guilty. Magnotta’s fate should be determined based on medical experts and professional opinions presented to the jury by both sides. Justice being blind, the victim should not play a role in this.