- Appellant jailed for stabbing his brother to death sought help of Jutting, who shocked world with double murder in Wan Chai flat
- But Tsang’s appeal dismissed with judge saying it ‘did not follow proper practice and procedure”
A judge has slammed an appellant convicted of manslaughter in Hong Kong for taking up court time with a shoddy case that notorious killer Rurik Jutting helped him prepare.
At the Court of Appeal, Tsang Man-wai had applied to take his bid to reduce his life sentence for stabbing his elder brother to death to the Court of Final Appeal, after the lower court dismissed his application two years ago.
But he did so with written submissions drafted by British banker Jutting in a legal challenge that justices said "did not follow proper practice and procedure".
Jutting, a former Merrill Lynch banker, was jailed for life in 2016 for murdering two Indonesian women, Sumarti Ningsih, 23, and Seneng Mujiasih, 26, in his Wan Chai flat between late October and November 2014.
Acting in person at the hearing on September 25, Tsang told Justices Andrew Macrae, Ian McWalters and Kevin Zervos he sought Jutting's help after his lawyer said he was unlikely to obtain legal aid to advance his appeal. He said Jutting thought his appeal was "likely to succeed".
Zervos, in handing down the reasons for dismissing the appeal on Friday, said not only was the application without merits, it was beset by "lengthy" submissions and "meandering" arguments that lacked the professional skill and responsibility of a practising lawyer.
Life in jail for Hongkonger who killed brother with sashimi knife
"It meant that the applicant had not received proper or professional legal advice, and if he had received such legal advice, it may have caused him to take a different approach or advance a different argument in relation to his case.
"We emphasise however that a person has a right of appeal but it should be exercised by advancing meritorious arguments in full compliance with proper practice and procedure."
Zervos said one major problem in the appellant's application was that many of his arguments had not been raised in the previous trials.
Tsang said when he knifed his brother at a restaurant on September 24, 2014, he was provoked by his brother in addition to being in a state of "drug intoxication" after taking Ice, the methamphetamine.
After his conviction by a unanimous jury, then High Court judge Mr Justice Michael McMahon sentenced him to life imprisonment, describing his attack as "sustained and ferocious" which "falls short of murder by only a small margin".
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The judge also ordered he must spend 15 years behind bars before he could apply for parole.
His appeal against sentence was subsequently turned down by the appeal court on June 13, 2017.
In his latest appeal, written by hand, Tsang raised two questions on points of law, which Zervos said were "artificially crafted … to argue a point that was not an issue in the appeal".
Tsang argued his offence could not be described as a very serious one, because a guilty verdict by the jury could only mean they had accepted he had killed his elder brother by an involuntary act as a result of his self-induced drug intoxication.
He further argued his drug-induced state was a mitigating factor which should have been taken into account in sentencing.
British banker Rurik Jutting fails to overturn double murder conviction
But Zervos dismissed the claim as "fundamentally wrong", citing the trial judge's ruling that the appellant was in control of his actions albeit with no formed purpose.
"It was noted in this court's decision that the applicant had a long history of drug addiction and a past record of serious crimes of violence. He was fully aware that his consumption of drugs could lead to acts of violence as evidenced by his past behaviour."
The Court of Final Appeal dismissed Jutting's appeal against convictions on August 9 last year, sending him back to maximum-security Stanley Prison where he will continue to serve his jail terms.
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