The intentional homicide trial of Bogu Kailai and Zhang Xiaojun began Thursday in the Hefei City Intermediate People’s Court in Anhui Province.
The People’s Procuratorate of Hefei City, capital of east China’s Anhui Province, filed the charges against the two in the Hefei City Intermediate People’s Court on July 26.
Bogu Kailai and her son surnamed Bo had conflicts with Neil Heywood over economic interests. Worrying about Neil Heywood’s threat to her son’s personal security, Bogu Kailai decided to murder Heywood.
She asked Zhang Xiaojun, the other defendant and then an employee of the general office of the Chongqing Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), to invite Heywood to Chongqing Municipality in southwest China and to accompany him from Beijing. Heywood stayed in Room No. 1605 of the 16th building of a vacation resort, the Lucky Holiday Hotel, in Chongqing.
On Nov. 13, 2011, Bogu Kailai met Heywood in his hotel room for a drink. After Heywood was drunk, vomited and asked for water, she put the poison she had prepared, and which Zhang had brought along to the hotel room, into Heywood’s mouth, which led to Heywood’s death.
The prosecuting body said the facts of the two defendants poisoning the victim to death are clear and the evidence is substantial.
Their behavior has violated Article 232 of the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China; therefore, the two defendants should be held criminally responsible for intentional homicide, according to the prosecuting body.
The case is a joint offense with Bogu Kailai as the principal and Zhang Xiaojun as the accessory, the prosecuting body said.
The Hefei City Intermediate People’s Court accepted the case according to the decision designating jurisdiction made by the Supreme People’s Court, and delivered a copy of the indictment in a timely way to the two defendants Bogu Kailai and Zhang Xiaojun, and also informed the two defendants and the close relatives of the victim of their litigation rights and obligations.
The court notified the lawyer to meet the defendants and gave the lawyer access to the entire case file, fully ensuring the litigation rights of Bogu Kailai, Zhang Xiaojun and the close relatives of the victim.
The Hefei City Intermediate People’s Court began the public trial on Aug. 9, after following the legal procedure of issuing a notice before the trial and making a public announcement.
During the trial, procuratorial authorities presented relevant evidence, witnesses appeared in court to testify, and defense counsels entrusted by Bogu Kailai and Zhang Xiaojun to represent them pleaded on their behalf.
An attorney representing Neil Heywood’s close relatives was present during the trial and made comments.
More than 140 people attended the trial. They included relatives and friends of Bogu Kailai, Zhang Xiaojun and Neil Heywood, diplomats from the British embassy and consulates in China, representatives from the media, deputies to China’s legislature, members of China’s political advisory body, as well as people from all walks of life.
After Thursday’s court session, the court announced an adjournment and the judgment will be announced on a day to be decided.
According to the court, four other police officers, who were suspected of covering up Bogu Kailai’s illegal conduct during the investigation into Neil Heywood’s death, were also charged by the People’s Procuratorate of Hefei City with bending the law to achieve personal benefit.
The officers are Guo Weiguo, former deputy chief of Chongqing’s Public Security Bureau, Li Yang, former chief of the bureau’s criminal section, Wang Pengfei, former chief of the bureau’s technical detection team and also former chief of the Public Security Sub-bureau of Chongqing’s Yubei District, and Wang Zhi, former executive deputy chief of the Public Security Sub-bureau of the municipality’s Shapingba District.
The court will hold an open trial for the officers on Aug. 10.