Photo: Sky News Screenshot
What is the “ample” evidence against Gu Kailai and Zhang Xiaojun?We do not know and are unlikely to find out.
It is likely to have come from witness statements and confessions.
Witnesses rarely give evidence in person in the Chinese system – meaning there is no cross-examination.
Confessions are likely to have been given in circumstances that would render them inadmissible in a British court.
Why did Heywood fly to Chongqing to meet Gu Kailai and what was the nature of their economic conflict?
The nature of their economic ties are unclear. He appears to have handled some of her financial affairs. There were previously claims that investigators believed he was funnelling money overseas for her, leading to a row when he sought a larger cut.
Although he had been part of her inner circle, friends say the relationship had cooled long before his death. He may have hoped that Gu’s invitation meant she wanted to build bridges.
Why did Gu’s defence lawyer claim that Heywood bore “a certain responsibility” for the cause of his death?
This appears to be a reference to the assertion that Gu believed Heywood was a threat to her son, but no explicit link is made.
Why did Gu believe that Heywood might pose a threat to her son?
Again, no indication is given. Friends of the Briton strongly dispute the suggestion, saying that it simply was not in his character and that he was closer to Bo Guagua than other members of the family. Bo Guagua said before the trial that he had submitted a statement because he was cited as a motivating factor in the alleged crime, but did not elaborate.
Why did Heywood get drunk with Gu?
Friends became suspicious when Heywood’s death was initially ascribed to excessive drinking because he was known as only a light drinker. Yet the new account suggests he was already so drunk he had vomited before the poison was administered.
Why was Zhang needed to carry the poison?
The account says Gu prepared the poison and administered it herself. It is unclear why she gave it to her aide in between.
Whose crimes has Gu informed on, according to the defence?
No indication is given. It could refer to her co-accused, Zhang – although she reportedly requested a lighter sentence for him during the hearing – or the four police officers due to stand trial for covering up for her. Others wonder if her husband could face criminal charges. No comment has been made on his case since the announcement that he was under investigation for suspected disciplinary violations.
Some analysts previously thought that, if anything, the signals suggested that leaders wanted to deal with him through internal party processes.
In what way was Gu’s ability to control her behaviour “weaker than normal people’s” at the time of the crime, according to her defence?
This may be intended to imply she was suffering from mental health problems, which could be regarded as a mitigating factor. She is thought to have experienced depression in the past.
This article originally appeared on guardian.co.uk
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