21 Jun 2009

Xue considers whether to appeal murder conviction

2:01 pm on 21 June 2009

Nai Yin Xue will consider whether to appeal against his conviction for the murder of his wife An An Liu, his lawyer says.

As the guilty verdict was read at the High Court in Auckland on Saturday, and again as the judge convicted him, Xue pumped his fist in the air and shouted "unfair, unfair" and "I'm innocent".

Xue's lawyer, Chris Comesky, says he will be examining the judge's summing up and the way he ran the case before he and Xue make a decision on whether to appeal.

"Looking at an appeal is simply one of the things that one is duty-bound to do in their client's interests," he said at the end of the trial. "Whether one eventuates or not, it's probably too early to say."

After listening to three weeks of evidence, the jury agreed with the Crown that Xue, 55, had strangled his wife on or about 11 September 2007, leaving her body in a car boot.

Xue abandoned the couple's daughter Qian Xun, then aged three, in Melbourne, days after he killed her mother.

Some of the jury of 12 women were visibly upset following their verdict, wiping away tears.

The conviction brings a mandatory life sentence. The non-parole period to be applied will be discussed at a hearing in July.

During the trial, the defence contended someone else could have been involved in An An Liu's murder after a complicit sexual act, and told the jury not to judge Xue for abandoning the couple's daughter in Melbourne.

But the Crown called the theory bizarre and desperate and argued there was an avalanche of evidence that pointed to no one else but Nai Yin Xue.

The court had heard that Xue a martial-arts instructor, was violent. He had threatened to kill his wife if she ever left him.

The prosecutor said An An Liu had lived in fear of her husband, who was angry because she had not given birth to a son.

The jury began deliberating about midday on Friday and returned their verdict shortly after 11am on Saturday.

Case hit world headlines in 2007

The case grabbed headlines across the world after security camera footage was released showing the plight of Xue's daughter after he abandoned her at a Melbourne railway station.

The child was picked up by police, who nicknamed her Pumpkin.

Xue fled to the United States where the case appeared on the television programme America's Most Wanted. He was eventually recognised by a Chinese family in Atlanta, Georgia, who tied him up and called the police.

On Saturday, the New Zealand officer charge of the case, Detective Senior Sergeant Simon Scott, said Qian Xun was happy and thriving in her new home with her grandmother Xiao Ping Liu in China.

He said Xiao Ping Liu wants to thank the public for the sympathy and love the family has received.

National Party MP Pansy Wong says Madame Liu has told her she hopes the conviction will bring the tragedy to an end and that she is looking forward to focusing her attention on her granddaughter.

Ms Wong says she understands Qian Xun has been taking English lessons, is learning to draw and enjoys dancing.

Donations for Qian Xun not yet used

A trust which collected about $40,000 in donations for Qian Xun remains untouched almost two years after it was set up.

The trust was the inspiration of Qian Xun's half-sister, Grace Xue. A trustee, Dr John Gray of Insight Legal, says the trust has had no instructions about the use of the money from Qian Xun's grandmother.

He says now that the trial is over, the trustees may need to reinforce to Madame Liu that the fund is available for Qian Xun.