Top appeal court to give Kissel ruling today

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 11 February, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 11 February, 2010, 12:00am

The city's top appeal court will decide today on whether to quash Nancy Kissel's conviction for murdering her banker husband in 2005.

Kissel made a final bid to overturn her conviction at the Court of Final Appeal last month. She is serving a life sentence for bludgeoning Merril Lynch banker Robert Kissel to death at their luxury flat in Parkview, Tai Tam, in November 2003.

The court - Chief Justice Andrew Li Kwok-nang, Mr Justice Kemal Bokhary, Mr Justice Patrick Chan Siu-oi, Mr Justice Roberto Ribeiro and Sir Anthony Mason - will give their ruling today.

The American was found guilty by a jury after a sensational trial in the Court of First Instance in 2005. Mr Justice Michael Lunn sentenced her to life in prison.

The trial had heard that Kissel had an affair with a television repairman in the US state of Vermont, where she took her children during the 2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome outbreak. When she returned to the city, she drugged her husband with a sedative-laced milkshake before bludgeoning him to death with a metal ornament.

The mother of three appeared frail at her appeal hearings last month and attended in a wheelchair due to a knee injury.

Her barrister, Gerard McCoy SC, argued that prosecutors had broken rules during her trial by using inadmissible material to attack the argument that his client was of unsound mind at the time of the offence.

McCoy also said his client had suffered 'extensive, determined exploitation' when prosecutors cross-examined her about her mental state, and argued that the trial judge had given directions to the jury that were erroneous and 'point-blank wrong'.

Furthermore, evidence from a confidante of Robert Kissel's about the banker's suspicions that his wife intended to kill him should not have been admitted, McCoy argued.

Kissel maintains that she cannot remember the events surrounding the killing of her husband.

However, during the appeal, the prosecution called the alleged memory loss a convenient excuse and said it was a tactic aimed at covering up how she murdered her husband.