"Milkshake murderer" Nancy Kissel will be spared from paying the prosecution's legal costs for her failed appeal as she does not have the financial means, the Court of Appeal ruled yesterday.
The decision came before Kissel appears in the top court on April 24 for her final bid to overturn her conviction for murdering her high-flying banker husband Robert Kissel in 2003.
The Court of Appeal said it also rejected the prosecution's application for costs because of Kissel's health and the life sentence she is serving.
The American expatriate was jailed for bludgeoning to death the Merrill Lynch investment banker with a lead ornament in their luxury flat at Parkview in Tai Tam in 2003. She first incapacitated him by feeding him a drug-laced milkshake.
According to the judgment, the prosecution had applied for costs after the Court of Appeal dismissed her case in December, ruling that there was overwhelming evidence against her.
Lawyers for Kissel opposed the application, saying it was "oppressive" and would cause her "undue hardship" given her physical and mental state. Solicitor Colin Cohen, for Kissel, said she had used savings to settle the legal costs and had no income in the past 10 years as she was in jail.
The court document also revealed that the solicitors, junior barristers and an expert had worked voluntarily during the appeal. Queen's Counsel Edward Fitzgerald and another expert worked at discounted rates.
"The applicant has been incarcerated for almost 10 years and … has been privately represented … The costs … will be quite substantial," Madam Justice Carlye Chu Fun-ling wrote.
The Court of Appeal in January rejected Kissel's bid to go to the Court of Final Appeal; she will apply directly to the top court. Her 2005 conviction was overturned in 2010. She was found guilty in a 2011 retrial; her appeal was rejected on December 3.