Friday, 27 July 2007

China handed evidence for murder trial

Chinese officials spent this week in Canberra collecting evidence to prosecute a student for an alleged murder committed in the Australian capital in 2004.

Zhang Long is facing trial in China for the murder of his girlfriend, Zhang Hongjie (also known as Steffi Zhang). Her body was found in their Canberra apartment in January 2005, six months after she was believed to have been strangled.

Police in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) announced on Thursday that they had handed a brief of evidence and physical exhibits to a visiting delegation of seven police and public security officials.

The handover was the culmination of more than a year's careful negotiation with Chinese authorities.

The ACT government refused to hand over evidence in the case until China gave an undertaking the death penalty would not be imposed if he was convicted of murder. China refused to extradite Zhang to Australia to face trial.

In November 2006 The Canberra Times reported the breakthrough when China agreed to guarantee it would not execute the accused if he was found guilty.

AAP reported Zhang had been in custody in the Chinese city of Dalian since March 2005.

Under Australian law, an international request for assistance in criminal cases can be refused where that assistance may result in the death penalty.

Related stories:
No execution for Canberra murder: Report -- 15 December, 2006
Australia China talks over murder case -- 04 April, 2006

No comments: