Lawyer of accused in Hubei stabbing sacked

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 24 May, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 24 May, 2009, 12:00am

The defence lawyer representing a pedicurist who killed an official in Hubei was sacked by her family a day after he said he possessed crucial evidence of attempted rape, provincial media said yesterday.

In a bizarre twist in the high-profile case, Zhang Shumei, the mother of Deng Yujiao , said she had dissolved the contract with Deng's lawyer Xia Lin because he had not been able to 'satisfactorily carry out his duties', according to the website of Hubei Daily.

The report also said police had enough evidence to prove the case was not a rape.

Mrs Zhang was indignant that the lawyer had told reporters 'without any factual basis' that Deng was raped, the report said.

Some netizens speculated that the family could have received hush money, which could explain the U-turn in their attitude.

What Mr Xia referred to on Friday night as 'crucial evidence of attempted rape' was the pedicurist's underwear, which was torn but had been ignored by police.

Deng stabbed to death Deng Guida , who was head of a business promotions office in Yesanguan town, on May 10 after she refused to provide him and his two subordinates with 'special services', a euphemism for sex.

The incident triggered a public outcry as it shed further light on government corruption and immorality, while the pedicurist was hailed as an example of the struggling, underprivileged class.

There was uproar after she was detained for intentionally causing death even though many believed she acted in self-defence.

Initial police investigations showed the officials had humiliated her with a stash of banknotes and twice tried to push her to a sofa before she produced a fruit knife, stabbing Deng Guida five times and injuring one of his subordinates.

Pu Zhiqiang , a lawyer from Beijing, said that if the evidence was submitted it would create a strong case for self-defence.