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Harper aide appears at Luka Magnotta hearing

A senior confidante to Prime Minister Stephen Harper has testified at the preliminary hearing in a gruesome killing-and-dismemberment case.

Jenni Byrne has held various high-ranking roles under the Harper Tories and is now the director of political operations for the Conservative Party of Canada.

She testified in a Montreal courtroom Thursday morning at the hearing for Luka Rocco Magnotta.

Her brief appearance came as a group of Ottawa-based witnesses were being heard today. Two Ottawa police officers and a Canada Post inspector also testified Thursday morning.

Evidence presented at the preliminary hearing is subject to a publication ban.

Thursday is the ninth day of the preliminary hearing. It is expected to adjourn later in the day and pick up again on April 8.

Magnotta is charged with first-degree murder in the slaying and dismemberment of Chinese engineering student Jun Lin.