Website owner gets conditional sentence for posting Magnotta video
Published Monday, January 25, 2016 6:51AM EST Last Updated Monday, January 25, 2016 5:02PM EST
Mark Marek is shown in a handout photo, released on Thursday July 25, 2013.
EDMONTON -- A judge has given a website owner a conditional sentence for posting an infamous video of Luka Magnotta dismembering a Chinese university student in Montreal.
Mark Marek, who founded bestgore.com, will have to serve half of the six-month sentence under house arrest.
Marek's trial was to start Monday in Edmonton but he instead pleaded guilty to publishing obscene material charges, including material that depicts sex involving a crime.
"It is extremely obscene," said Queen's Bench Justice Sterling Sanderman, who noted the 10 minute, 45 second video includes death, horror, cruelty, violence and dismemberment.
Sanderman told Marek his admission of guilt was a major factor in his decision to accept the joint sentencing submission, which includes performing 30 hours of community service.
"You aren't in any fashion trying to weasel out," he said, adding that pleading guilty is a sign of redemption.
Marek, who represented himself, told court he set up the website to provide what he called accurate material to the public that would never downplay content and he would never censor anything.
"I take full responsibility for the publishing the video," he said. "I admit the video was obscene."
According to the agreed statement of facts, Marek posted the video entitled "1 Lunatic, 1 Icepick" to his website on May 25, 2012. Court documents do not reveal how he obtained it, but police have alleged that Magnotta sent it to Marek.
The images relate to the murder of Jun Lin and show the student being cut up by Magnotta, who then had sex with parts of the body.
Marek wrote a description of the video on the website. People could view it with a simple click and the video could be played on most Internet-connected computers and mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.
People quickly began watching the gruesome video, some complaining about the music on its soundtrack.
RCMP investigators said it was viewed more than 850 times before it was taken down on May 31.
Marek, 41, said people kept sending him emails asking him to post it again.
Magnotta, who was a porn actor and escort, admitted to killing and dismembering Lin and to mailing the man's hands and feet to political offices in Ottawa and schools in Vancouver. Police in Montreal found Lin's torso in a suitcase.
Magnotta's lawyer argued in court that his client was not criminally responsible for his actions due to a mental disorder.
He was convicted in 2014 of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.
At Magnotta's trial, a police officer testified that the video has appeared on various sites under different titles. Police estimate it has had as many as 10 million viewers.
Marek's website is still operating.
It advertises itself as a reality news website for adults only. It opens with a content warning.
"If you are 18 years of age or over and wish to be reminded of real life, then be my guest, but do NOT take the warning lightly. Videos and images posted on Best Gore are bloody, gut wrenching, teeth grinding, offensive and upsetting. Just as the life itself."
Marek declined to speak with reporters after the court hearing.
Outside court he put a piece of tape across his mouth and held up signs with captions that read "Guilty of Canadian Thought Crimes" and "Silenced By Censorship in Canada."