A judge yesterday told the media not to report on preliminary hearings in the case of a woman accused of murdering her American banker husband. The decision followed an application yesterday by Gary Plowman SC, representing Nancy Ann Kissel, in the Court of First Instance. Mr Plowman argued that the case involved 'special circumstances', citing the considerable interest in the case from both local and international media organisations. Kissel, 40, is accused of murdering her husband, Robert, whose body was found near their luxury apartment at Parkview, Tai Tam, in November 2003. She has pleaded not guilty to the charge. Robert Kissel was the Asia-Pacific managing director of global principal products for banking giant Merrill Lynch. Mr Justice Michael Lunn said it had always been the media's practice not to publish pre-trial material. But while ordering the blackout, he declined to approve a defence application for the preliminary proceedings to be heard behind closed doors, saying a fair and open trial was the 'fundamental cornerstone of the rule of law'. The hearing continues today.