Judge starts directing jurors in Kissel retrial

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 24 March, 2011, 12:00am

The judge presiding over the retrial of Nancy Kissel yesterday began giving directions to the jury and recounting evidence given over the past 21/2 months.

Nancy Kissel, 46, stands accused of murdering her Merrill Lynch investment banker husband, Robert Kissel, 40, on or about November 2, 2003. She pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to manslaughter on the basis of provocation and diminished responsibility, which the prosecution does not accept.

The retrial in the Court of First Instance had for weeks heard evidence from dozens of prosecution and defence witnesses in live testimony and written transcripts, depositions and statements read out by lawyers.

Earlier, David Perry QC, for the prosecution, and defence barrister Edward Fitzgerald QC, concluded summations of their cases to the jury.

Mr Justice Andrew Macrae yesterday started giving the jury directions and summing up the material before them. He extended the day's hearing beyond the usual 4.30pm by one hour.

The judge directed the jury regarding the offences of murder and manslaughter, and how to consider the issues of provocation and diminished responsibility. He recounted evidence from witnesses called by the prosecution in the case. He is expected to do the same for the defence evidence later today.

Prosecutors said Robert Kissel drank a drug-laced milkshake, and that Nancy Kissel bludgeoned him to death with a heavy lead ornament. She then wrapped his body in a sleeping bag and carpet and had workmen remove it to a storeroom in the Parkview complex where the family lived.

But Nancy Kissel's legal team said the prosecutors' allegations of a cold-blooded, calculated, pre-planned murder make no sense and that their client had been suffering from depression.

The retrial is being heard after the Court of Final Appeal earlier ruled that Nancy Kissel's first trial had been flawed and unfair and ordered a new trial.