New jury sworn in for Nancy Kissel retrial

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 13 January, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 13 January, 2011, 12:00am

The retrial of Nancy Kissel for the murder of her investment banker husband, delayed a day earlier by the replacement of a juror, was held up again yesterday when an entire new jury was empanelled.

The half-day delay in the Court of First Instance came on a day when prosecutor David Perry QC disclosed that 'Daisy the dog', the Kissel family pet, would feature in the case.

Mr Justice Andrew Macrae disbanded the nine-member panel over concerns about a possible technical issue with the way in which a member who sought exemption for work-related reasons was replaced on Monday.

He said the safest course would be to discharge the jury. Kissel, 46, is facing a retrial in the case after the Court of Final Appeal found the original trial flawed and unfair.

She is alleged to have hit husband Robert several times on the head with a heavy lead ornament in the master bedroom of their Parkview apartment. It is alleged he had drunk a drug-laced milkshake she had prepared, and that Kissel later hid the body in a storeroom at the luxury estate.

She has pleaded not guilty to murder, but guilty to manslaughter, which the prosecution does not accept.

The jury changes mean the judge has had to make his opening remarks three times - once before the original jury, once before the jury with the one replacement and once before the new jury yesterday. It also meant Perry has had to deliver the first part of his opening statement twice.

Continuing his opening remarks yesterday, Perry said the Kissel family dog would feature in the case.

'Why do I mention Daisy the dog? Daisy the dog will have some relevance to some of the facts which I'm going to mention.'

He later said Daisy had spent a large part of 2003 in the couple's home country, the United States.

'Daisy the dog was to arrive in Hong Kong in the afternoon of November 5. November 5 was the day on which the body was removed from the flat,' Perry said, referring to dates in 2003.

He said Kissel had been making arrangements for Daisy's return to the flat. Kissel is accused of killing her Merrill Lynch investment banker husband in 2003 by dealing at least five separate blows to the upper right side of his head, any one of which could have proven fatal.

Perry said Robert Kissel had drunk a milkshake which Nancy Kissel had prepared and which had concealed the drugs.

A post-mortem examination revealed he had six drugs, four which had been prescribed to his wife, he said.

After the killing, Kissel placed his body in a sleeping bag and carpet, tying it together with tape and rope, the court heard. Kissel went to 'great lengths' to conceal and move her husband's body, Perry said. He said she had bought new bedding and a new carpet.

She called a removal company to arrange for packing cartons to be delivered after the killing. Fabric covering the headboard of a bed in the apartment showed signs of having been rubbed and part of the fabric on the footboard had been removed.

The trial continues.