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Thursday, Feb 22, 2024

Life imprisonment ruling upheld as High Court rejects appeals by woman who shot dead relatives

Life imprisonment ruling upheld as High Court rejects appeals by woman who shot dead relatives

The High Court on Friday rejected the appeal filed by a 49-year-old woman – convicted of murder for shooting dead two relatives in 2018 – and upheld the original life imprisonment sentence.
The defendant Ada Tsim Sum-kit, who once worked as a bodyguard, was previously convicted of two counts of murder and two counts of shooting with intent. On June 26, five years ago, Tsim shot dead her 80-year-old aunt and 62-year-old uncle and also wounded another aunt and an uncle at Quarry Bay Park.

Tsim was later sentenced to life for the murder charges and 18 years imprisonment for the remaining shooting charges.

She then appealed against both her convictions and sentences, arguing that the legal burden on her to prove diminished responsibility was unfair and infringed the presumption of innocence. She also argued that the original judge was biased against her and only considered material unfavorable to her and that the original judge failed to give a full and proper lies direction when guiding the jury.

In the judgment released Friday, Court of Appeal vice-president Andrew Macrae, appeal justices Kevin Zervos and Anthea Pang Po-kam rejected both Tsim’s appeals against the convictions and sentences.

“The facts of the case involved Tsim carrying out an execution-style killing with pistol shots to the head of the two deceased victims.

“Whilst Tsim did not formally admit she intended to kill or do serious bodily harm to the two deceased victims, the account she had given to the police and the psychiatrists left no room for doubt that she had the requisite intention for the offense of murder,” they wrote.

The judges also noted that the inconsistent accounts Tsim gave to the psychiatrists were not relied upon by the prosecution to prove her guilt of the murder charges.

“We are firmly of the view that there was no risk that the jury would use the inconsistent accounts for an impermissible purpose.”

They added they could not find any error in the original judge’s approach in sentencing Tsim to 18-year imprisonment on the two shooting charges, as they pointed to aggravating factors like the accused discharged a firearm in public and was equipped with a “substantial quantity of ammunition to continue shooting if necessary.

“[The] two others were fortunate to escape death,” they added.
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