The Nancy Kissel Case - Part 16
(The Standard) Kissel defense challenges police over arrest notes. By Albert Wong. June 29, 2005.
Nancy Kissel's defense challenged police Tuesday, suggesting that notes made during their murder investigation show she was arrested more than three hours earlier than police had said, and before there was any mention of lawyers or her right to remain silent.
Several police officers have testified during Kissel's murder trial that she was arrested in the Ruttonjee Hospital at 2:40am on November 7 after the body of her husband, Robert Kissel, was found in a storeroom.
In the High Court Tuesday, senior counsel Alexander King pointed out a reference in a police notebook which read, "I guard the Nancy - AP'' on November 6, at 11:29pm. "What does the `AP' stand for in police terms?'' asked King. "Arrested person,'' was the reply. The officer who made the notes said the entry was a mistake.
Kissel, 40, is accused of serving her husband a cocktail of drugs in a pink milkshake which left former Merrill Lynch banker Robert Kissel unconscious as she beat him to death on November 2, 2003. Kissel told doctors and the police that her husband was drunk on November 2 and had assaulted her after she refused to have sex. She has pleaded not guilty and is out on bail.
On November 6, around 4pm, police officer Ng Yuk-ying drafted the witness statement of David Noh, a friend and colleague of the banker, when he filed the missing-person report and informed the police of a "large stinky carpet,'' which was removed from the Kissel residence into a storeroom.
Ng testified Tuesday that she was assigned to take notes when officers interviewed the accused at her Parkview home in Tai Tam. Ng said when the accused began to show officers how she was assaulted in the master bedroom, Ng remained outside the doorway and could not hear what was being said, except when another senior inspector asked about the storeroom.
After returning from the master bedroom, she saw the accused in conversation with her father, Ira Keeshin, in the dining room, but could not hear what they were saying, except when the father walked towards the police officers saying loudly "My God, I don't believe it.'' Ng said Keeshin said this four to five times but, because she was so surprised, she forgot to note it down. Before Ng, two other officers testified to hearing the same words, but none of them made a note of it. For the defense, King suggested that Kissel's father had actually said, "Oh my god, it can't be.''
Before the accused was made aware of the search warrants, Kissel asked for a lawyer and denied having keys to the storeroom, but eventually delivered the keys without a word, according to Ng. When police officers discovered the banker's decomposing body in the storeroom, Ng was attending to the accused, she said.
Under cross-examination, Ng admitted that none of her three written records state that she was instructed to investigate an assault, but only a missing persons report. King pointed out that she did, however, testify in court that she went to Parkview to assist in an assault claim as well.
"Where did that recollection [that the investigation was also for an assault claim] come from?'' asked King. Ng said that her superior had told her orally when the arrived at Parkview. She said it was her mistake for failing to record this fact in her official notebooks. Referring to her notes, King pointed out that there was a note of "house search,'' and the next entry reads "N requested to talk to her father alone,'' showing that the accused had spoken with officers in the master bedroom for five to six minutes without Ng making a record.
King also noted that Ng had testified Kissel requested a lawyer before she delivered the keys to the storeroom, but this was not mentioned in her notebooks. Ng said, "Actually, I do not write down each and every word.''
At 11:29pm, Ng recorded that she was guarding an "arrested person.'' Ng said this was a mistake. King pointed out she wrote again that other officers then came in and "also guarded AP.'' "Is that also a mistake?'' asked King. Ng said she wanted to write "accompanied her'' but made a mistake.
While other officers were discovering the corpse and Ng was guarding Kissel, King suggested that the accused had said to her repeatedly, "He wouldn't stop, he wouldn't stop,'' which was not recorded by Ng. Ng said she didn't hear such words.
"And I suggest to you,'' said King "she just kept repeating that over and over again. She also said, `make sure the children are OK', again, repeatedly. And, of course, there's no record of that in your notepad, because you've already agreed that there are many other things not recorded down.''
(SCMP) Omissions were my mistake: constable. By Polly Hui. June 29, 2005.
A constable told the Court of First Instance yesterday that it had been her mistake not to record possibly vital evidence from a conversation between Nancy Kissel and police in the hours leading to her arrest for the bludgeoning death of her husband.
Ng Yuk-ying, attached to Western police station, said Senior Inspector See Kwong-tak had told her to take notes of the interview in the Kissels' luxury Parkview flat after 10pm on November 6, 2003. At the time, they were investigating missing-person and assault cases. Constable Ng had been told Kissel had alleged she had been assaulted by her husband, Robert Peter Kissel.
But Alexander King SC, for the defence, argued that the officers were trying to mislead his client because they believed at that time that the case was one of murder.
He pointed out yesterday that nowhere in her three written records - two notebooks and her statement taken in November 2003 - did Constable Ng mention that the investigation on that day was related to an assault. "It was my mistake. I forgot to record that into my police notebook as well as my notepad," Constable Ng said.
In her statement, Constable Ng wrote that on arrival at the apartment, Chief Inspector Yuen Shing-kit explained to Kissel "the purpose of the visit [was that] we were investigating a missing-person case".
"Would you agree that it was a mistake you made not once, but three times?" asked Mr King.
"Yes," Constable Ng replied.
Kissel, 41, is accused of drugging and bludgeoning her Merrill Lynch banker husband to death on or around November 2, 2003. His body was found in a Parkview storeroom on November 7. Kissel has pleaded not guilty to murder.
Mr King asked Constable Ng why none of her notes could verify her claim that Kissel had asked for a lawyer after Mr See, the officer in charge of the case, showed Kissel search warrants and that she had said "no" when asked if she had the keys to the storeroom. "I did not write down each and every word on my record," she replied.
Mr King asked why she had referred to Kissel as "AP" - police terminology for "arrested person" - twice in the part of her notes relating to incidents that occurred around 11.30pm, more than three hours before Kissel was cautioned and arrested. Constable Ng said she had written it incorrectly and the second "AP" actually meant "accompanied her". "I wrote too fast, I made a mistake," she said.
Mr King suggested to Constable Ng that Kissel said repeatedly "He wouldn't stop. He wouldn't stop", and later on, "Make sure the children are okay", after some officers left the flat to search the storeroom. But she disagreed.
Constable Ng said she had heard Kissel's father, Ira Keeshin, say "My God, I don't believe it" four to five times in the flat but had not recorded it. "That surprised me and I had forgotten to write that sentence down," she said.
The witness told prosecutor Peter Chapman she had been able to take more-complete notes of the first part of the conversation because they were speaking slowly.
The court also heard, in a written statement by Senior Inspector Wong Po-yan, that Mr Keeshin had asked for photographs to be taken of his daughter's injuries when she was treated at Queen Elizabeth Hospital after the arrest. But the witness said Mr Keeshin changed his mind after talking to defence lawyers on the afternoon of November 7.
The case continues today.