The jury must decide whether former University of Hong Kong academic Cheung Kie-chung intended to kill his wife when he strangled her, Justice Anthea Pang Po-kam told the seven-member jury in the High Court yesterday.
Pang said although the jury might feel sorry for his wife or sympathize with Cheung because he is a well-respected professor, they must reach a verdict rationally and objectively.
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.
Pang told the jury they could convict Cheung of murder if they decide he had the intent to kill his wife or cause serious injury when he strangled her.
Pang added that the intention of murder did not have to last for a long time -- it might have existed for a few seconds when Cheung committed the crime. For example, it could have been triggered by a sudden rush of anger, she said.
Pang also said although Cheung claimed he had no intention of killing his wife, he must have intended to cause injury to her by strangling her with cable wires.
As no witness saw how Cheung killed his wife, the jury should also consider factors that affected Cheung's behavior, including his mental state and the fact that his wife provoked him before her death, Pang said.
She also said evidence had shown that Cheung was mentally ill when he committed the crime, but the jury must consider if the seriousness of the illness was enough to cause Cheung to lose control and kill his wife.
Pang is expected to finish her guidance to the jury today and the jury will retire to consider its verdict.