Former Minneapolis Police Officer, Mohamed Noor smiles as he arrives for his pre trial hearing on Friday.
Former Minneapolis Police Officer, Mohamed Noor smiles as he arrives for his pre trial hearing on Friday.

Justine Damond’s killer smiles in court

The police officer who shot dead Australian woman Justine Ruszczyk Damond was seen smiling as he arrived at court for a this week to defend his innocence in the alleged murder.

It comes as the judge in the highly publicised case, Judge Kathryn Quaintance, blocked much of the "graphic" evidence from being released to the public, prompting condemnation from experts as well as the prosecution and the media.

Arriving at the Hennepin County Government Center, former Minneapolis Police Officer, Mohamed Noor, was all smiles before his pre-trial on Friday.

Ms Damond, 40, an Australian-born life coach, living in Minnesota, was shot and killed by Mr Noor after calling 911 to report a potential sexual assault occurring behind her house.

 

Former Minneapolis Police Officer, Mohamed Noor could be seen smiling as he arrived at the Hennepin County Government Center for a pre-trial hearing.
Former Minneapolis Police Officer, Mohamed Noor could be seen smiling as he arrived at the Hennepin County Government Center for a pre-trial hearing.

 

Judge Quaintance set tight restrictions on the trial, telling the prosecution and defence that the media and community will not be able to view graphic evidence that is presented to the jury.

Local media reported the judge claimed body camera footage, recorded after Ms Damond's shooting, medical examiner's reports and other evidence would only be shown to the jury and the attorneys in the case.

 

Justine Ruszczyk Damond was killed by Mr Noor in July 2017. Picture: Stephen Govel
Justine Ruszczyk Damond was killed by Mr Noor in July 2017. Picture: Stephen Govel

 

According to Judge Quaintance the evidence could be "inflammatory, potentially" and she had made the ruling to preserve Ms Damond's privacy.

"It's emotional and it shows the deceased in extremely compromising situations, and I don't see any value in that being shown outside the people directly involved in the case," she said, according to the Star Tribune.

 

Mohamed Noor looked straight into the camera as he left his pre trial hearing on Friday.
Mohamed Noor looked straight into the camera as he left his pre trial hearing on Friday.

 

But the ruling has caused outrage, with experts claiming privacy concerns do not justify blocking access to evidence.

Minnesota Newspaper Association lawyer Mark Anfinson told AP the ruling was "just unconstitutional."

 

Justine Damond was shot in the stomach and died from her injuries in July 2017.
Justine Damond was shot in the stomach and died from her injuries in July 2017.

 

Mr Noor has been charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter and is due to go on trial on Monday.

The 33-year-old could face 40 years imprisonment if convicted of just one of the charges and was fired from the Minneapolis Police Department last year after his arrest.

A letter, signed by a lawyer for several media organisations, was sent to Hennepin County District Chief Judge Ivy Bernhardson on Friday, demanding a meeting to overturn the controversial ruling.

Mr Noor arrives at the courthouse smiling beside his lawyers on Friday.
Mr Noor arrives at the courthouse smiling beside his lawyers on Friday.