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World News

Hong Kong "milkshake murder" retrial set for November

HONG KONG (Reuters) - American housewife Nancy Kissel will face a retrial in November in Hong Kong’s “milkshake murder” case, a judge said on Wednesday, after a court last month quashed her conviction for killing her investment banker husband.

Nancy Kissel, dubbed the "milkshake" murderess, sits in a prison van as she arrives at the Court of Final Appeal in Hong Kong February 11, 2010. Kissel will face a retrial in November in Hong Kong's "milkshake murder" case, a judge said on Wednesday, after a court last month quashed her conviction for killing her husband. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

Kissel’s lawyer, Simon Clarke, said the Nov. 1 date was set after a hearing with a criminal listing judge, just a day after Hong Kong’s Department of Justice again indicted Kissel with “one single count of murder” in a fresh indictment.

Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal last month ordered a retrial in a dramatic reprieve for the American, whose 2005 trial riveted the city with tales of rough sex, marital violence and adultery.

“There were issues in connection with her self-defence plea that weren’t properly aired in the original trial,” Clarke told Reuters.

Kissel had admitted killing her husband Robert, a high-flying banker at Merrill Lynch, on Nov. 2, 2003, but pleaded not guilty to murder, a charge that requires premeditation.

Kissel’s lawyers maintain she was provoked into the killing and acted in self-defence after suffering years of domestic abuse, including forced anal sex.

While the court remanded Kissel in custody pending the retrial and said it would consider a bail application, Clarke said Kissel had not yet sought bail, but would likely do so in the next 4-6 weeks.

The so-called “milkshake murder” case engrossed Hong Kong, offering a rare glimpse into the high-living lifestyle that some foreign professionals enjoy in the former British colony.

Prosecutors said Kissel gave Robert, 40, a milkshake spiked with a “cocktail of drugs” before cracking his skull several times with a statuette. They said Robert had planned to divorce Nancy and wanted custody of their children after discovering she had an affair with a TV repairman in the United States.

In quashing Kissel’s conviction, the judges described the lengthy trial as complex and riven with conflicting evidence. The judges also questioned whether the seven-person jury that convicted Kissel in the original trial may have been misdirected.

Reporting by James Pomfret; Editing by Alex Richardson

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