31 Jul 2009

Xue to appeal, but not on grounds of provocation

8:54 pm on 31 July 2009

The lawyer for Nai Yin Xue will not pursue a defence of provocation when he appeals against his client's life sentence.

Xue was sentenced on Friday to life in prison, with a minimum non-parole period of 12 years, for killing his wife An An Liu nearly two years ago.

Summing up at the end of the trial, in the High Court at Auckland, Justice Williams said that the defence could have raised a partial defence of provocation had it given evidence of the circumstances that led to Xue's strangling his wife.

But defence lawyer Chris Comeskey now says that to do so would have contradicted Xue's plea of not guilty.

"He maintains steadfastly that he is not the killer, that he hasn't killed her," says Mr Comeskey, "so provocation won't be raised as an alternative - because it would be absurd to."

Mr Comeskey says he may appeal on the grounds that his client didn't get a fair trial. He says there's DNA and other evidence to suggest that another man may have been involved in An An Liu's death.

Past convictions and violent behaviour a factor

The defence had called for a minimum non-parole period of 10 years but in delivering the sentence Justice Williams said 12 years was appropriate, given Xue's past criminal convictions and previous violent behaviour towards his wife, as well as the abandonment of their daughter Qian Xun at a Melbourne railway station.

After leaving An An Liu's body in the boot of their car outside their home in Mt Roskill, Auckland, Xue fled via Melbourne to the United States, where he was eventually found after the case featured in a television show, America's Most Wanted.

Qian Xun, or "Pumpkin", as she was known, is now living with her maternal grandmother in China.