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UK banker back in Hong Kong court for murder appeal

•  Ethics     updated  2017/12/13 16:19


A British banker sentenced to life in prison for the gruesome slayings of two Indonesian women appeared in a Hong Kong court on Tuesday to appeal his conviction.

Lawyers for Rurik Jutting made their case in the semiautonomous Chinese city's Court of Appeal, arguing that the trial judge gave incorrect instructions to the jury on deciding their verdict.

The nine-person jury last year convicted Cambridge University-educated Jutting of the 2014 killings of Seneng Mujiasih, 26, and Sumarti Ningsih, 23.

The case shocked residents of Hong Kong, while also highlighting wide inequality and seedy aspects usually hidden below the surface.

Jutting, 32, watched the proceedings from the dock Tuesday, wearing a blue dress shirt and often leafing through a bundle of court documents as he followed along. During a break he chatted with the three uniformed court officers sitting alongside him.

Jutting worked for Bank of America-Merrill Lynch, while Seneng and Sumarti arrived in Hong Kong as foreign maids but ended up as sex workers. During the trial, jurors were shown graphic iPhone videos shot by Jutting of him torturing Sumarti and snorting cocaine.

Jutting attempted at the trial to plead guilty to manslaughter, which the court rejected. His defense argued that he was under diminished responsibility.

On Tuesday, lawyer Gerard McCoy told the three-judge appeal panel that the trial judge made a "fatal error" in his directions to the jurors on how to assess Jutting's psychiatric disorders and whether they constituted a mental abnormality.

Under Hong Kong law, an "abnormality of mind" that substantially impairs mental responsibility can be used as a defense against a murder conviction.





Greece's Supreme Court is due to rule whether to allow the extradition of a Russian cybercrime suspect to the United States to stand trial for allegedly laundering billions of dollars using the virtual currency bitcoin.

Alexander Vinnik appeared at the Athens court Wednesday amid an ongoing legal battle between the U.S. and Russia who are both seeking his extradition.

The 38-year-old former bitcoin platform operator denies any wrongdoing but is not contesting the Russian request on less serious charges.

He was arrested at a northern Greek holiday resort in July and a lower court has already approved his extradition to the U.S.

Greece's justice minister is likely to ultimately decide on whether Vinnik will be sent to Russia or the U.S.



Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel is asking the state Supreme Court to block state Superintendent Tony Evers from getting his own attorney in a lawsuit challenging his office's powers.

Schimel late Monday asked the court to reject Evers' request to disqualify Schimel from representing him.

Evers doesn't want Schimel representing him because the Republican attorney general agrees with the position taken by a conservative law firm in a lawsuit against Evers. The lawsuit alleges that Evers is in violation of a recently passed state law giving the governor oversight powers in the agency rule-making process.

Schimel says in his court filing that he has a duty to represent Evers and the Department of Public Instruction in the case, but Evers could hire his own personal attorney if he wishes.




The Supreme Court is leaving in place a lower court ruling that a federal employment discrimination law doesn't protect a person against discrimination based on their sexual orientation.

The court on Monday declined to take up the question of whether a law that bars workplace discrimination "because of...sex" covers discrimination against someone because of their sexual orientation.

President Barack Obama's Equal Employment Opportunity Commission took the view that it does. But President Donald Trump's administration has argued that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 bars discrimination based on gender but doesn't cover sexual orientation. Federal appeals courts are split on the issue. That means the issue is likely to come to the court again.

The case the Supreme Court declined to take involved Jameka Evans, a gay woman who worked as a hospital security officer in Georgia. Lower courts said she couldn't use Title VII to sue for discrimination.

The Supreme Court didn't explain why it was declining to hear the case. But the hospital where Evans worked, Georgia Regional Hospital, told the court there were technical legal problems with the case.



Authorities say an Idaho man tried to crash a car into a courthouse in downtown Boise because he was upset with the court system.

The Ada County Sheriff's office says 37-year-old Jonathan Joseph Locksmith drove toward the courthouse in the state's capital city Sunday morning.

According to authorities, Locksmith apparently made it onto the courthouse plaza in the car, spinning it around in a "doughnut" before landing the vehicle in a fountain. There were no injuries reported.

Locksmith has been arrested on a misdemeanor reckless driving charge and is now in jail.  It's unclear if he has an attorney.

The sheriff's office says Locksmith told a passer-by that he was upset with the court system and wanted to be arrested to go back to jail.




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