British double murderer Rurik Jutting loses bid to take appeal to Hong Kong’s top court
Former banker can still apply directly to Court of Final Appeal for permission to appeal against his conviction
An appeal bid by Rurik Jutting, the Briton jailed for life over the brutal murders of two Indonesian women in Hong Kong, was dealt another blow on Wednesday, when an appeal court refused to give him the green light to take the case to the city’s top court.
The former Merrill Lynch banker lost his first appeal against his conviction for the murders of Sumarti Ningsih, 23, and Seneng Mujiasih, 26, at the Court of Appeal in February. He filed a subsequent request to the same court for its approval to take his case to the Court of Final Appeal.
On Wednesday, the Court of Appeal refused his bid, saying Jutting’s case was not one involving “a point of law of great and general importance” – a requirement for the court to give its blessing.
The Cambridge graduate is not out of options, however, as he can still apply directly to the Court of Final Appeal for permission.
Jutting, 32, was jailed for life by the High Court on November 8, 2016, after a nine-member jury unanimously found him guilty of the drug- and alcohol-fuelled murders of the two women.
The killings took place at Jutting’s Wan Chai flat between late October and November 2014.
He tortured Sumarti for three days with “increasingly cruel acts of violence using his belt, sex toys, a pair of pliers and his fists”, until he eventually slit her throat on around October 27, according to prosecutors. Five days later, he took Seneng back to his flat and cut her throat as well.
On the day he was sentenced, Jutting said he “cannot and will not” object to the verdict, though he later went back on this pledge by lodging an appeal.
Jutting’s lawyers argued that during the trial, the presiding judge had made certain errors when approaching the law and directing the jurors, including on Jutting’s state of mind when he committed the murders.
The lawyers then lodged the present application, arguing the top court should address two questions as they were legally important, the first being whether it was correct for the then presiding judge to direct the jury that only a mental disorder would suffice as a defence even though Jutting displayed narcissistic and sadistic traits.
The second question was whether it was right for the judge to let psychiatrists, called to the trial as expert witnesses, comment on whether Jutting’s mind was “substantially” impaired, something his lawyers said was a matter to be decided by the jury.
But in the judgment on Wednesday, vice-president of Court of Appeal Mr Justice Michael Lunn, appeal court judge Mr Justice Andrew Macrae and Court of First Instance judge Kevin Zervos said the trial judge had not made mistakes, and these thereby did not amount to legal points worth addressing by the top court.