Monday, August 25, 2008

Nancy! Nancy! Nancy! --- One more time

I have a rather morbid interest in high-profile murderer's and over the years and have had more than my fair of contact with them; even if I do say so myself.

I grew up one street over from the parents of Charles Manson's hatchet man Tex Watson who was the guy that killed pregnant actress Sharon Tate by slicing open her abdomen and then killing her baby in front of her while she bled to death. They were nice people but with a son who sort of fell off the deep end.

When I was an undergraduate I worked the night desk in a budget motel and had the dubious honor of checking in Henry Lee Lucas in and talked to him several times as he drank our free coffee in the lobby before he was arrested for murder and necrophilia; he was a scary guy even before I knew what he'd done.

I think that criminals fascinate us because we can in our more honest moments see ourselves in them. We wonder, could we be that evil? We receive a thrill, just a little shutter when we realize the answer is probably "Yes" and a grateful sense of moral relief when we can say; "But I'm not like him."

Anyway, with a history, and morbid personality like that it should not come as a surprise that I made a post in April about Nancy Kissel's attempted appeal and that I called her my favorite Hong Kong murderess. This turned out to be an interesting post in a number of ways because not only did I enjoy writing it but have continued to receive comments on it. It seems that somebody put a link to that post on one the several websites that deal with famous murderers. Since I was evidently the last person to write anything about this case the people who read that site see my post. Several have written to me to ask for more details and an update.

One of the more interesting emails came from the family of Nancy Kissel. This caused me a moment of guilt because I had been pretty flippant about her situation but they were polite and appreciative that someone was actually concerned about this case. They must have read my post completely because at the end I did call for her release though not because I think she is innocent. Another email came from the good old Mr. Anonymous who wanted to know how I could defend a known liar and murderer? He was a little less polite and I think may be a family member or friend of the murdered husband.

Well, the update is simple. Her appeal was rejected and Nancy Kissel will probably spend the rest of her sentence in Stanley prison which for those not living in Hong Kong is near the upscale area of Stanley Market. Her six-foot by eight-foot cell will probably be bigger than many two bedroom apartments here in the "Big Lychee" but still considerably less opulent than the digs of her former expat-housewife friends by a long shot. I don't know what the term "Life Sentence" means in Hong Kong. It could be "For the rest of your life" or it could be 12 years like in the UK or parole in about 15-17 years like the US. Whatever it means, she is going to serve it out.

However, my main point in my original post actually had nothing to do with Nancy Kissel at all. It had to do with the arbitrary nature of the justice system in Hong Kong. Nancy Kissel was simply my foil for a subject that has been a soap-box of in this blog for years. In a country with a justice system that functioned properly I'd have no problem with Nancy Kissel receiving a life sentence. Indeed; in a place where the justice system functioned properly I'd have had very little complaint about a death sentence. She is guilty of murdering her husband in cold blood with malice and afore thought (Premeditated for those of you in the US) after doping him with sedatives. Her self defense argument is simply ludicrous. If her husband was as evil as she claims then Nancy should have packed her suitcase, loaded the kids in a taxi to the airport and left for home after leaving instructions for her lawyer to institute divorce proceedings. If her husband was really as abusive as Nancy claimed she'd now have 1/2 his rather substantial fortune and could have lived happily ever after with her New Hampshire handyman boyfriend.

However, the justice system in Hong Kong has every appearance of being arbitrary. Sentences vary wildly between judges for similar cases and there appears to be no rhyme or reason in how a sentence is arrived at. Child molesters get off with a few years in a slammer for molesting over a dozen little girls after feigning remorse in a courtroom and a man who beats a stray cat to death is put in jail for years. If you run over an elderly couple while driving dangerously then then you get a slap on the wrist but steal $14,000.00 HKD because if you don't the triads are going to break the legs of your children you get multiple years in jail. Engage in insider trading and make millions of US dollars through unethical behavior as the CEO of the Bank of East Asia and, oh wait, insider trading is not illegal here so David Li still goes golfing with THBT.

Justice is, at the risk of sounding like a tautology, only justice if it just and then only if it so to everyone. Because the HK justice system is so demonstratively lenient in many other cases, it was manifestly unjust to not be so in Nancy Kissel's case. If a serial child rapist can go to jail for 9 years then what is wrong with letting a woman, whose husband could reasonably have been thought to be abusive, off with time served? It isn't Nancy Kissel I am advocating for but for justice to honored in the Hong Kong legal system.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who thinks he should have been a lawyer or judge

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Do you have an example of a country where the justice system is "fair"?

I am always reading about similar problems in other countries.

But I agree with you, there has to be consistency.

Every case is different, but many can be compared and questions do arise as to why some go inside, and some don't.

I always laugh when the defendent shows remorse during the trial.

I'll bet he wasn't remorseful when he committed the offences.

Only when people get caught do they say sorry.

Fai Mao said...

I think that in many countries judges have less discretion in sentencing. That would be a good start here. Other than murder it doesn't seem that are any mandatory sentencing guidelines.

For example: Gary Glitter wanted to come here rather than go to the UK. Pedophiles are not required to register, where a GPS locater or any of the other things that perverts have to do in most Western Nations.

The government here is "Considering" these measures so in 25 years or so legislation will be put forward after three studies, four paid consultants, pre-approval from the PRC and exemptions for Civil Servants, Tycoons and DAB Members. It will provide for tracking of child molesters provided they've been convicted three times, and agree to the tag.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Just want to say thanks for posting the info that Nancy Kissel's appeal was turned down. Just got through reading a book about the murder and I was curious about her appeal. Could not find out anywhere else!