HONG KONG (Reuters) - A former British banker who was jailed for life in 2016 for the murder of two Indonesian women he tortured and raped will not be given a new trial, Hong Kong’s Court of Appeal ruled on Friday.
Rurik Jutting, 32, a former Bank of America employee, had denied murdering Sumarti Ningsih, 23, and Seneng Mujiasih, 26, in his luxury apartment in 2014 on the grounds of diminished responsibility due to alcohol and drug abuse and sexual disorders.
The Cambridge-educated Jutting pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter in a horrific case that sent shivers through the Asian financial hub.
The jury unanimously found Jutting guilty of murder and he was sentenced to life in prison in November 2016.
Jutting’s lawyer Gerard McCoy had appealed for a re-trial, arguing that the deputy judge, Michael Stuart-Moore, had “wrongly directed” the jury by narrowing down the scope of the defense case for diminished responsibility by saying only a psychiatric disorder could constitute an “abnormality of mind”.
McCoy said Jutting showed severe traits of psychiatric disorders, far beyond the normal range and was therefore not in control of his actions.
The three judges on the court of appeal, however, said in their judgment that Stuart-Moore had only offered direction to the jury as advice, without mandating it.
“There is no merit whatsoever in this ground of appeal,” the judges said in their ruling.
Stuart-Moore described Jutting, in strongly worded closing remarks at the end of the trial last year, as an “archetypal sexual predator” who represented an extreme danger to women, especially in the sex trade, and cautioned that it was possible he would murder again if freed.
Jutting’s defense team had previously argued that cocaine and alcohol abuse, as well as personality disorders of sexual sadism and narcissism, had impaired his ability to control his behavior.
The prosecution rejected this, stating Jutting was able to form judgments and exercise self-control before and after the killings, filming his torture of Ningsih on his mobile phone as well as hours of footage in which he discussed the murders, bingeing on cocaine and his graphic sexual fantasies.
Jutting is the grandson of a British policeman in Hong Kong and a Chinese woman.
Additional reporting by Wyman Ma; Editing by James Pomfret and; Simon Cameron-Moore