Prof 'did not lose self-control'

Top News | Wallis Wang 25 Nov 2020

Former University of Hong Kong academic Cheung Kie-chung killed his wife over money and there was no evidence that he lost self-control, the prosecution said in its closing address yesterday.

But the defense said the prosecution should only find Cheung guilty of murder if they could prove he is a cold-blooded killer.

He also argued that Cheung was rich, owning five properties worth HK$16 million with his wife. He also argued that Cheung suffered from depression and was not his usual self when he committed the crime.

Cheung, 56, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Tina Chan Wai-man, 53, but admitted to manslaughter, which was rejected by the prosecution. He is also charged with preventing a lawful burial by concealing his wife's body at his office.

Senior assistant director of public prosecutions Jonathan Man Tak-ho told Justice Anthea Pang Po-kam in the High Court that Cheung killed his wife due to financial reasons.

Although Cheung would often write checks to Chan, she never deposited them until the day before her death, when she deposited a HK$4 million check into a Citibank account, he said.

Man agreed that Cheung was suffering from depression but questioned whether it was enough to reduce his penalties.

Although Cheung claimed he lost memory of how he strangled his wife with cable wires, he worked and met students as usual after Chan's death and acted rationally, Man said, saying there was no evidence to show Cheung lost his self-control.

Man also agreed that Cheung lived under personal and professional pressure but said Chan's character had not changed since Cheung first met her and she never acted violently.

But defense counsel Graham Harris refuted the prosecution's claim and said the prosecution had ignored that the couple's argument before Chan's death was triggered by a fight between her and their daughter Nancy.

He also said Cheung lied after he killed Chan because he did not know how to deal with his abnormal behavior.

Harris said multiple witnesses have testified that Cheung was a polite, well-respected person, while Chan was demanding. He added that Cheung lost weight sharply between April and August 2018, as his workload increased a lot and he also had to deal with family clashes from time to time.

Harris added that two psychiatrists had also testified in court that Cheung was suffering from depression and was mentally ill when he killed his wife. Therefore, Cheung should be convicted of manslaughter instead of murder.

The judge will guide the jury today.

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