Can it be true? Are we going to re-live those heady days of 2005 when the whole world was gripped with the Nancy Kissel milkshake murder case? The Court of Final Appeal has ordered a retrial, courtesy of one of those technicalities that make law such an enticing and absorbing subject. Let’s face it, we all enjoyed it the first time round, so why not do it again? It’ll be like having a repeat of HarbourFest, or a special extra Christmas Day in June, only even more fun.
It could be that in the retrial the prosecution will simply correct the procedural errors they made last time and get her convicted properly. Her defence, on the other hand, could take advantage of this second chance and do a better job of claiming diminished responsibility, arguing that she had been driven temporarily crazy by her husband, or by the food colouring in milkshake, or the whole SARS/Tung Chee-hwa/Article 23 series of horrors that traumatized the entire city in the months before the killing. There is no shortage of madness-inducing factors lying around. I could be an expert witness: hardly anyone was left sane back then.
Then again, it could all be a big let-down. Kissel’s defence are saying they want to get the whole thing dismissed because she won’t get a fair trial in the gossipy, prurient, grubby-minded, rumour-mongering village that is the Big Lychee. I am sure all my seven million fellow-residents of our fair city join me in being shocked at these spoilsports’ scurrilous and insulting claim.
There are two strands of thought about Nancy Kissel. One is that she is a ruthless, sadistic she-monster and embodiment of evil on a par with Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and Vlad the Impaler. The other is that she is an abused, exploited, bullied innocent victim who, after being brutalized by her investment banker spouse, was wronged by a cruel travesty of justice.
Actually, there is a third. To quote a commentator below: “…my fascination with the young [sic] lady stems from the fact that when she’s scrubbed up (or not in the scrubs), I think she looks pretty hot. Sorry, but I can’t help it.”
This is not an unprecedented observation (eg, Tue, 2 Aug, 2005 uses the word ‘coquettish’). Nancy Kissel does have a certain doe-eyed, slightly girlish, certainly girl-next-door, pouting, kittenish, Jacqueline Taieb/Diana Rigg-like something about her. Or, at least, she did. Several years of dining on Correctional Services congee, sleeping on a mat, mopping floors and just plain moping seem to have taken their toll in the hair and skin department. Still, there is good news: in the four or so years since she was put away, Hong Kong has witnessed an explosion in the number of foot massage, facial, nail, spa treatment and similar outlets. She will be amazed at the choice these days!