Hong Kong court rejects UK banker's double murder appeal

AP

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FILE - In this Nov. 10. 2014, file photo taken through tinted glass, Rurik Jutting, a British banker, is escorted in a prison bus to a court in Hong Kong. A Hong Kong court on Friday, Feb. 9, 2018, rejected a British banker's appeal of his conviction in the gruesome murders of two Indonesian women. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu, File)

HONG KONG (AP) A Hong Kong court on Friday rejected a British banker's appeal of his conviction in the gruesome murders of two Indonesian women.

Three Court of Appeal judges said in their decision that Rurik Jutting's appeal had no merit.

Jutting is serving a life sentence for the 2014 killings of the two women in a case that shocked the Asian financial capital, which has a reputation for being safe.

A jury found Cambridge University-educated Jutting guilty at his 2016 trial of the brutal killings of Seneng Mujiasih, 26, and Sumarti Ningsih, 23.

Jutting's legal team failed to convince the court that the trial judge gave incorrect instructions to the nine-person jury on reaching a verdict.

The former Bank of America employee spent days torturing one of the victims while on a cocaine-fueled binge before stuffing her body into a suitcase left on his apartment balcony.

Jutting didn't deny the killings but had sought to plead guilty to manslaughter, which the court rejected. His defense argued that he was under diminished responsibility.

His appeal lawyers said the trial judge made an error in his directions to jurors on assessing 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.

"We are satisfied that the judge's directions correctly applied the law to the evidence adduced at trial," the ruling said .

Jutting's appeal lawyers also said the trial judge was also wrong to advise jurors they should come up with the same verdict for both counts, despite the different circumstances of the two deaths.

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