Canadian authorities have arraigned a former porn actor facing charges of slaying and dismembering a Chinese student.

Luka Rocco Magnotta, 30, filmed himself murdering his victim last year and performing lewd acts with the body before posting the images on the internet.

Magnotta's preliminary hearing began in the city of Montreal on Monday in what local media say is the most high-profile case in Canada in many years.

Magnotta arrived escorted by prison guards for the start of the hearing, in which a judge decides whether there is enough evidence to prosecute.

The suspect faces first degree murder and other charges, including committing indignities to a body and harassing Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Police say the occasional gay porn actor and male prostitute used an ice pick to stab his 33-year-old victim Lin Jun in late May.

He then carved up his body, sexually abused the corpse and filmed the act before posting the video online.

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

The vicitm's 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 months later.

Victim's parents horrified

Lin's parents, who travelled to Canada from China last year following their son's horrific death, have returned to Quebec to watch the court case of a man they have branded "a devil”.

Magnotta pleaded not guilty following his arrest in a Berlin internet cafe in June last year and subsequent extradition to Canada.

His lawyers said they would ask the judge to bar the public from his preliminary hearing, which is expected to last at least 10 days.

It is rare for a preliminary hearing to be held behind closed doors. If convicted, Magnotta faces life imprisonment.

His lawyers may argue against jailing him, claiming he has a history of mental illness.

Born Eric Clinton Newman, he changed his name to Magnotta in 2006, after years of swapping aliases such as Vladimir Romanov, or Angel.

Police said he was known to change his appearance by dying his hair or wearing wigs, or disguising himself as a woman.

The media, however, dubbed him the "Canadian Psycho" because of the soundtrack from the movie "American Psycho" playing in the background as he allegedly butchered his victim.

Source: Agencies