Don't let feelings sway you, jury told in Nina Wang forgery case
Judge reminds panel to stay impartial ahead of judgment in Nina Wang will forgery case
The jury that is to decide today whether Peter Chan Chun-chuen is guilty of forging late tycoon Nina Wang Kung Yu-sum's will must put aside any personal feelings, they were told by the judge yesterday.
Mr Justice Andrew Macrae told the eight-member jury in the Court of First Instance that while some aspects of the evidence presented to the court might have made them feel annoyed or angry, inspired sympathy or antipathy, the jurors should not be swayed by these feelings. "This is a court of law. Such feelings would distract you," he said. "It's not a court of morals concerned with moral conduct."
While the judge did not refer to any specific evidence presented, the court earlier heard statements from Chan describing intimate details of his relationship with Wang. A video recording was also played in court, showing the pair kissing as Chan ran his hands over Wang's body.
Once Asia's richest woman, Wang died of cancer in 2007 at the age of 70.
Chan has pleaded not guilty to forgery and using a false instrument. He is accused of forging a will dated 2006, purportedly created by Wang.
Chan tried unsuccessfully to use the document to claim Wang's HK$83 billion fortune in a drawn-out probate battle with the Chinachem Charitable Foundation, which she set up.
Yesterday, the judge added that if the jury found that Chan had lied, it meant only that they would not accept his explanations. "Lies do not prove guilt," Macrae said. "It would not relieve the prosecution of the responsibility and duty … [to] make you feel sure of the prosecution case," he said, adding the jury should look at the evidence as a whole.
Macrae also noted that the probate proceedings and the criminal trial had received extensive media coverage. He asked the jury not to be influenced by the publicity and not to consult the internet, but to consider only the evidence heard in court.
The judge said Chan would be guilty of forgery even if he had not carried out the act himself but had instructed, requested, persuaded or encouraged another person to forge the document.
Chan would be guilty of using a false instrument if he had had the intention to use the will in question to the prejudice of the Chinachem Charitable Foundation, he said.