Date
11 December 2018
Noting that justice must be tempered with mercy, a High Court judge said she may consider handing out a probation order to an 81-year-old man who had killed his sick wife. Photo: HKEJ
Noting that justice must be tempered with mercy, a High Court judge said she may consider handing out a probation order to an 81-year-old man who had killed his sick wife. Photo: HKEJ

Elderly man may avoid jail time after killing sick wife

A High Court judge said on Thursday that she would consider giving a lenient sentence to an 81-year-old man who had pleaded guilty to killing his 76-year-old ailing wife.

Justice Judianna Barnes Wai-ling said she may consider handing out a probation order to the elderly defendant after it was learnt that the man had choked his wife to death only out of love, as he wanted her to avoid any further suffering.

The court heard earlier that the octogenarian defendant, who bears the surname Wong, and his wife had depended on each other after their only son committed suicide in 2007.

In 2015, the wife was hit by a stroke that paralyzed the right half of her body. Also, the woman had been suffering in recent years from high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis, and a thyroid disorder.

Since the woman took ill, Wong has been solely taking care of his wife every day, since she disliked living in a residential care home for the elderly.

On June 6 last year, Wong strangled his wife at their home in Shau Kei Wan by pressing a bamboo stick against her neck. Several hours later, he called the police and informed them of his crime.

He told the police after turning himself in that he was willing to bear responsibility for the death of his chronically ill wife.

The elderly man said he had been worried as to would happen to his wife in case he died before her, and who would take care of her.

Hence, the decision to end the woman’s life, to put her out of further potential misery for her in the future.  

Wong was originally charged with murder before the prosecution agreed on Thursday to change it to manslaughter.

The defense lawyer asked for leniency from the court, saying that Wong had always been a caring husband who had done his best to take care of his wife, and that he had been suffering from severe depression when he committed his crime, a fact that was confirmed by three psychiatrists.

The tragedy could also be partly attributed to the couple’s failure to receive support from society, the lawyer argued, Apple Daily reports.

Saying that justice must be tempered with mercy, judge Barnes, who was hearing the case, said she may consider handing out a probation order after receiving a report from the probation officer.

Sentencing is scheduled for January 8 next year, with Wong ordered to remain in custody until then.

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TL/JC/RC

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