The lawyer representing a professor accused of murdering his wife and daughter with a carbon monoxide-filled yoga ball has told the High Court that his client had no motive to kill.
Senior defense counsel Gerard McCoy made the comments in a summary to the jury this morning before jurors retire to decide a verdict on whether or not Khaw Kim-sun, 53, is guilty of killing Wong Siew-fung, 47, and their 16-year-old daughter Lily, who were found dead inside Wong’s Mini Cooper in 2015.
The prosecution alleges that Khaw, who was having an affair with a student, plotted to kill Wong by placing the carbon monoxide-filled yoga ball in the back of her car after she refused to grant him a divorce.
Khaw denies both counts of murders, and told police that he was using the carbon monoxide to kills rats in his home, and also as part of an experiment on rabbits.
McCoy said Khaw could not have killed the two just because he had a girlfriend, as Wong knew about the affair and had come to terms with it.
He added that the children and professor’s friends all knew as well and that it was an open secret, the Hong Kong Economic Times reports.
McCoy also said that the couple’s arrangement — agreeing to stay together for the children and being separated yet living under the same roof — is common in marriages, and asked the jury “why did he suddenly have the need to kill his wife?”
McCoy added that it wouldn’t make sense to kill Wong and leave no one responsible for the children.
He then told the jury that Khaw had disclosed details of his carbon monoxide experiment to 12 members of staff at his university, the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), in an email, adding that if he really was planning a murder, why would he leave an obvious trail of clues behind.
According to the SCMP, former colleagues told the court earlier this week that Khaw was a skilled and renowned anaesthetist dedicated to saving women and children, with one person even describing him as “avant-garde”.
McCoy also dismissed an earlier argument made by the prosecution that the alleged murder was financially motivated because the couple hold a joint bank account, HKET reports.
McCoy’s summary comes one day after the prosecution argued that Khaw had carefully planned the murders, and that Khaw’s proposed carbon monoxide experiment was a sham, on.cc reported.
Senior counsel Andrew Bruce dismissed the suggestion made by the defense that Lily was the only other person who knew about the carbon monoxide-filled yoga ball and was thinking of using it to commit suicide.
Bruce, pointing to evidence and testimony from prosecution witnesses and messages she sent to friends in the lead-up to the incident, said Lily seemed full of energy, hopeful for the future, and even talked to her friends about going on vacation.
The prosecution added that if Lily did want to commit suicide, there was no reason for her to kill her mother as well.
The trial will continue on Tuesday.