The Nancy Kissel Case - Part 48

(The Standard)  Expert testifies on porn sites search.  By Albert Wong.  August 20, 2005.

A defense computer expert was introduced in the Kissel murder trial Friday testifying on the methods used to search the Kissel family's computers for the users' Internet history.  In July, the court heard that the family computer was used to search for "gay anal sex in Taiwan'' Web sites in April, 2003 - a time when Robert Kissel was the only member of the family in Hong Kong, and a few days before he took a trip to Taiwan.

Benedict Pasco, the computer expert for Nancy Kissel's defense team, submitted a report and testified as to how he used Netanalysis and EnCase software to search the hard drives of the computers and recreate the Web sites that had been visited.

Pasco distinguished between the terms which were typed in himself in order to search the hard drive of the computer, and the words typed by the users of the computer using the Google search engine.

On April 4, 2003, it was the user of the computer who typed in "MPEG sex'' and "wife is a bitch'' into the Google search engine.

In some instances, the user seems to have gone through several pages of results offered by Google, said Pasco.

But he added there were terms such as "Gay Ultra'' printed in his report, which showed what he himself was looking for in the hard drive of the computer, not what the user had searched for on the Internet.

Nancy Kissel, 41, is accused of serving her husband a pink milkshake laced with sedatives which left him unconscious at the foot of the bed as she bludgeoned him to death with a heavy metal ornament on November 2, 2003, in their luxury Parkview apartment.

She has testified there was a furious fight that night in which she feared for her life as her husband bore down on her swinging a baseball bat, repeatedly saying: "I'm going to kill you, you bitch.'' She has accepted that she killed her husband, but claims she cannot recall how she came to inflict five fatal wounds to the side of his head.  She denies the charge of murder and is out on bail.

The decomposing body of Robert Kissel, a high-flying Merrill Lynch banker, was found wrapped in a rug and locked in a storeroom in the Parkview residential complex in the early hours of November 7.

The accused has testified that her husband routinely sodomized her and that, given the suggestion he surfed the Internet for homosexual porn sites, it now made sense to her that "he had a fascination'' for anal sex.

She also said her children once drew her attention to pornographic images which had popped up while they were using the family computer.

Friday, her defense counsel, Alexander King SC, asked Pasco whether pop-up images would return on a computer that had been used to visit certain Internet sites.

Pasco replied that in 2002 and 2003, spam and anti-virus software "were not as sophisticated as present'' - meaning that Web sites, once visited, would be able to scan a computer.

During cross-examination by Senior Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions Peter Chapman, Pasco said that he was instructed by the defense solicitors primarily to look for homosexual material.

Chapman suggested that Pasco's report on Internet activity of those computers was "incomplete.''

Pasco said some of the Internet history files were originally deleted and that it was not possible to recover the date those Web sites were visited.

The defense said it should complete submitting its evidence next week.

The trial continues Monday before Justice Michael Lunn.

(SCMP; no link)  Kissel trial hears how victim's Web history was traced.  August 20, 2005.

A dozen curious children made an appearance at Nancy Kissel's murder trial yesterday as a computer forensic expert explained how the defence came to suggest Kissel's husband had searched for homosexual and pornographic websites.

But the visit by the children, aged from six to 10, was cut short after defence counsel Alexander King SC asked Mr Justice Michael Lunn for a morning break five minutes earlier than usual when the group filed into the courtroom. He went to the public gallery to explain to the social worker taking the children on their first tour of the High Court that the material they would hear was not suitable for children.

Kissel, 41, is accused of bludgeoning top Merrill Lynch banker Robert Peter Kissel to death after drugging him with a sedatives-laced milkshake in their luxury Parkview flat on November 2, 2003.

She has admitted killing her husband but has pleaded not guilty to murder. She has told the court in her testimony that she had been subjected to sexual and physical assaults by her husband for years.

Benedict Pasco, the defence's computer forensic expert, was asked yesterday by Mr King if there was any danger of pop-ups or cookies for surfers of porn websites. The witness said it was very easy for those websites to scan the users' information, know when they were online, and then offer them certain images. Defence evidence had earlier suggested Kissel's daughter had seen pop-ups of pornographic images on a computer at home.

Using up-to-date forensic technology to trace internet use, Mr Pasco and his team had earlier rebuilt websites allegedly searched by the deceased on a computer and a laptop seized from the Parkview flat. The findings showed that Google searches on subjects such as "gay sex", "anal sex", "wife is a bitch", "Twinks", and "Paris gay massage" had been conducted on the computers.

In cross-examination by prosecutor Peter Chapman, Mr Pasco said he received instructions from Kissel's solicitor's firm on the keywords he had to search for. "Tell us the general areas the keywords covered?" asked the prosecutor. "They primarily focused on the homosexual area," said Mr Pasco, who added that the keywords also included "custody", "divorce", "father" and "children".

The case continues on Monday.

(The Standard)  Defence likely to wrap up evidence in Kissel case.  By Albert Wong.  August 22, 2005.

Counsel for Nancy Kissel will likely complete evidence for the defense this week, the 12th week of the trial, paving the way for the final stage of the proceedings.

After the defense witnesses complete their testimony, counsel for both sides will present their closing arguments. The case will then be handed to the jury for deliberations after the judge gives his final directions.

Last week, witnesses testified that they had seen Kissel with a bruised face, injured ribs and black eyes on several occasions between 1998 and 2003.

Kissel's father, Ira Keeshin, and her half-brother, Brooks Keeshin, testified that, in November 2003, they were told Kissel had been assaulted and were immediately concerned for her safety, knowing that, in worst-case scenarios, abusive husbands initially leave the home but return later to inflict more harm.

Kissel, 41, is accused of murdering her husband, Robert, on November 2, 2003, in their luxury Parkview apartment. She has testified there was a furious fight that night.

Kissel has accepted that she killed her husband but cannot recall how she came to inflict five fatal wounds to the side of his head. She denies the charge of murder and is out on bail.

The decomposing body of Robert Kissel, a former high-flying Merrill Lynch banker, was found wrapped in a rug and locked in a storeroom in the Parkview residential complex in the early hours of November 7.

Kissel has testified that she was subjected to a nightly routine of violence and sexual abuse since relocating to Hong Kong in 1998, but did not tell friends or family because the issue was humiliating.

On the morning of November 4, Kissel consulted Dr Annabelle Dytham about an alleged assault by her husband and the injuries inflicted during that assault. Originally, Dytham thought Kissel's pained response "disproportionate to the actual injury.''

Monday, when told by defense counsel Alexander King, SC, that blood tests showed Kissel may have been suffering "skeletal muscle injuries'' at the time, Dytham said she would not have thought Kissel to be exaggerating had she known that. She said "deep tissue injuries do not necessarily show up as bruises'' or red marks.

Dytham, who was part of the medical team attending the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens tournament, agreed with King that rugby players often come off the pitch not realising the extent of their injuries until the following day.

Dr Michael Cheng, a former general practitioner at the Adventist Hospital, also testified Monday that he had treated Robert Kissel for a fractured knuckle on August 31, 1999.

The explanation for the fracture was that he had hit a wall, said Cheng. Nancy Kissel has testified that this was when Robert Kissel first tried to hit her - but missed - during an argument about the expected birth date of their first son, which coincided with an important business deal in Korea.

Tuesday, Ira Keeshin, testified about the shock of hearing that his daughter may have been beaten up by her husband and then hearing that Robert Kissel might be dead in a storeroom.

He said he had a good relationship with Robert Kissel and often had "guy talks'' about their interests in business when they were on family vacations. He was aware the couple had arguments, but nothing prepared him for the November 3, 2003, telephone call when his daughter said: "Dad, I've been beaten up.''

He said she told him her husband had left the apartment, but he could not remember further details since he was in shock.

After consulting with his son, Brooks, who was a medical student and had worked with women's shelters, Keeshin decided to fly to Hong Kong.

It was only after the chief inspector who visited the Kissel apartment on November 6, said, "we're pretty sure we know where your son-in-law is,'' and asked for the keys to the storage room, that he first considered something had happened to Robert Kissel.

During cross-examination Wednesday, Keeshin said it did not occur to him to actively search for Robert Kissel since he had flown over chiefly to "handle things'' such as making sure the children got to school rather than conduct an investigation. He could not remember specific details of his time in Hong Kong because of jet-lag and the shock of the events that unfolded in the first week of November 2003.

Nancy Nassberg said Thursday that, in February 1999, she and her helper had asked why Kissel continued to wear sunglasses indoors during a birthday event in Movenpick restaurant with the children.

Kissel lowered her sunglasses, revealing the bruising on her right eye, and said "rough sex.''

Throughout Thursday and Friday, other witnesses testified they had seen Kissel with a black eye on separate occasions and that she often dismissed the injury as something which occurred while playing with the children.

The trial is being heard before justice Michael Lunn.