August 9, 2018 / 10:48 AM / 8 months ago

HK court rejects British ex-banker's last bid to appeal murder conviction

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Hong Kong’s highest court on Thursday rejected the final attempt by a British former banker to force a new trial over his jailing in 2016 for the cocaine-fueled murder of two Indonesian women he tortured and raped.

Cambridge-educated Rurik Jutting, 32, is serving a life sentence for the murder of Indonesians Sumarti Ningsih, 23, and Seneng Mujiasih, 26, in his luxury apartment in 2014.

The former Bank of America employee denied murdering the pair on the grounds of diminished responsibility due to drug and alcohol abuse as well as sadistic sexual and personality disorders, pleading guilty to a lesser charge of manslaughter.

A three-judge panel at the Court of Final Appeal did not grant Jutting leave for appeal, rejecting his laywer’s argument that the trial judge had misdirected the jury over the defense of diminished responsibility, public broadcaster RTHK reported.

In a hearing that lasted less than an hour, judges Roberto Ribeiro, Robert Tang and Joseph Fok upheld the ruling of a lower appeal court and said the original trial judge had been consistent and fair, RTHK reported.

Jutting’s lawyers had argued that the Jutting had been subjected to a “substantial and grave injustice” at the original trial, the South China Morning Post reported.

A member of Jutting’s defense team, led by lawyer Gerard McCoy, confirmed that a request for an appeal, which represented Jutting’s last chance for a retrial, had failed.

The initial trial gripped the global financial hub.

Evidence emerged that Jutting had filmed his torture of Ningsih on his mobile phone. He also recorded hours of footage in which he described the murders and his graphic sexual fantasies.

After slashing Ningsih’s throat with a knife, he stuffed her body in a suitcase and left it on his balcony. He killed Mujiasih after she panicked when he brought her back to the flat several days later.

The jury in the original trial was unanimous in finding Jutting guilty.

Jutting is the grandson of a British policeman in Hong Kong and a Chinese woman.

Reporting by Greg Torode and Farah Master; Editing by Robert Birsel

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