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Wednesday, November 2, 2016, 21:00

British banker 'acted rationally' after Hong Kong murders

By Reuters
British banker 'acted rationally' after Hong Kong murders
British psychologist Derek Perkins (R), a defense witness for British banker Rurik Jutting, 31, accused of the murders of two Indonesian women, leaves the High Court in Hong Kong on Nov 1, 2016, on the second day of the defense in the city's biggest murder case for years. (Anthony Wallace / AFP)

HONG KONG – British investment banker Rurik Jutting acted rationally before and after he killed two Indonesian women in his luxury Hong Kong apartment and had even telephoned his mother after killing the second woman, the prosecution said on Wednesday.

Despite the presence of abnormality of the mind it doesn't substantially impair his mental responsibility

Kavin Chow, Associate Consultant, Department of Forensic Psychiatry, Castle Peak Hospital

Jutting, a former Bank of America Corp employee, has pleaded not guilty to the 2014 murders but guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter due to "diminished responsibility", citing his heavy drug and alcohol abuse and sexual disorders.

The mutilated body of Sumarti Ningsih, 23, was found in a suitcase on the balcony of Jutting's apartment and Seneng Mujiasih, 26, was found inside the apartment with wounds to her neck and buttocks.

Prosecutor John Reading called Kavin Chow, an associate consultant at the Department of Forensic Psychiatry at Hong Kong's Castle Peak Hospital, to state that Jutting had moments of sobriety in between the killings and should have been able to resist "the use of substance".

Chow noted that Jutting acted rationally, ordering food for Ningsih before he killed her as well as cleaning up the bathroom afterwards.

"Despite the presence of abnormality of the mind it doesn't substantially impair his mental responsibility," she said.

Reading said Jutting called his mother after he killed Mujiasih, before he reported himself to police .

The defense has called British experts in forensic psychiatry and psychology who have testified that Jutting has recognized disorders from cocaine and alcohol abuse as well as other personality disorders of sexual sadism and narcissism, which impaired his ability to control his behavior.

The defense has also argued that Jutting, a 31-year-old Cambridge university graduate, felt huge stress during his banking career.

Reading said Jutting only worked for 10-15 days in the month before he was arrested and only for a few hours a day. Jutting stopped responding queries form his work in the second week of October, 2014, just before the killings, said Reading.

Jutting, a former vice president and head of Structured Equity Finance & Trading (Asia) at Bank of America in Hong Kong, had felt great pressure when his boss told him his professional activities would be monitored, his defense has said.

British banker 'acted rationally' after Hong Kong murders
British banker Rurik Jutting (L), charged with the grisly murders of two women, sits in a prison van as he arrives at the eastern court in Hong Kong on Nov 24, 2014. (Philippe Lopez / AFP)

The court heard on Tuesday that Jutting called his boss at the Bank of America after the killings, before he called the police, and warned him that the bank's reputation was at risk, defense lawyer Tim Owen said.

'NOT IMPULSIVE'

Freshly shaven and wearing a pale blue shirt, Jutting focused on the session intently on Wednesday, making notes as he sat in a sectioned off area, flanked by three policemen.

He smiled at times as his defense team challenged Chow, the prosecution witness.

Murder carries a mandatory life sentence, while manslaughter carries a maximum of life though a shorter sentence can be set.

Chow said Jutting had traits of a psychopathic and narcissistic personality but not a disorder.

Assistant professor of criminology at Castle Peak Hospital Dr Oliver Chan Heng-choon also testified. He cast further doubt on Latham’s findings, including that of the sexual sadism disorder. Chan said “sexual sadism per se does not necessarily represent an abnormality of mind” – a point on which much of the case rests. He added that Jutting did not appear to have been anxious about his sadistic urges but had willingly indulged them.

The court heard how in his account of the second murder, of Seneng Mujasih, 26, Jutting told how he had held her down with a knife to her throat and threatened her. When she struggled, the accused told police, “I used all my force and cut her throat.”

"It was not an impulsive act. He threatened to cut her before he did,” Chan said.

Chan agreed Jutting had mental “traits” of narcissism and sadism which affected his behavior in combination with drugs and alcohol, but “the substances did not substantially impair his judgment”.

"In my view (Jutting’s) traits … were not pervasive and ingrained and had not affected the whole spectrum of his life,” Chow said.

The trial continues.

(Jon Lowe contributed to this report)

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