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Former banker denied new trial in Hong Kong

APPEAL:Lawyer Gerard McCoy said his client showed severe traits of psychiatric disorders and was therefore not in control of his actions, but three judges disagreed

Reuters, HONG KONG

British banker Rurik Jutting, right, smiles as he sits in a prison van leaving the Eastern Court in Hong Kong on Nov. 10, 2014.

Photo: AFP

A former British banker who was last year jailed for life for the murder of two Indonesian women he tortured and raped will not be given a new trial, the Hong Kong Court of Appeal ruled yesterday.

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 last year.

Jutting’s lawyer Gerard McCoy had appealed for a retrial, arguing that 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.

However, the three judges on the court of appeal said in their judgement 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 said 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, saying that Jutting was able to form judgements 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.

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