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UPDATED: August 24, 2012 NO.35 AUGUST 30, 2012
Final Sentence
The case of Bogu Kailai comes to an end
By Yuan Yuan


VERDICT DELIVERED: Bogu Kailai accepts the verdict of the Intermediate People's Court of Hefei in east China's Anhui Province on August 20 (CCTV SCREENSHOT) 

Bogu Kailai was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve for the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood according to the verdict delivered by the Intermediate People's Court of Hefei in east China's Anhui Province on August 20.

Bogu Kailai, the wife of Bo Xilai, former Party chief of southwest China's Chongqing Municipality and a former member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), was deprived of political rights for life, said the court verdict. Zhang Xiaojun, an accessory in the case, was sentenced to nine years in prison.

More than 100 people were present for the court session, including relatives and friends of the two defendants and British diplomats. Legal representatives of Heywood's family also attended the court session.

The court verdict

The proceeding started at 9 a.m. Hu Quanming, chief judge of the court, announced the verdict after confirming the identities of the defendants.

According to the court verdict, Bogu Kailai and Zhang committed the crime of intentional homicide.

The court ruled that Bogu Kailai's criminal offense was odious and led to serious consequences. She played the main role in the joint offense and was the principal criminal. The circumstances of her crime warrant the death penalty.

Expert testimony showed that Bogu Kailai had the capacity to assume full criminal responsibility but suffers from a mental disorder. She fully realized the nature and consequences of her crime, but her power of self-control was weakened.

After she was arrested, Bogu Kailai provided to authorities clues regarding other people's violations of the law and discipline and played a positive role in the investigation and handling of relevant cases; in court, Bogu Kailai pleaded guilty and showed remorse for the crime.

Therefore, the court decided to sentence her to death with reprieve. In the Chinese legal system, a death sentence is often commuted to life imprisonment at the expiration of a reprieve.

Zhang acted on Bogu Kailai's instructions in this joint crime, serving as an accessory. After he was arrested, Zhang accurately recounted the main criminal facts, pleaded guilty and showed repentance in the trial, which led to the mitigation of Zhang's punishment.

After the verdict was delivered, both Bogu Kailai and Zhang Xiaojun said they would not lodge appeals.

Another sentence

On the same day, the Intermediate People's Court of Hefei announced the verdict in the case of bending the law for personal gain involving 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 Chongqing's Shapingba District.

The crimes committed by the four individuals caused Bogu Kailai's homicidal behavior to be covered up and prevented the investigations for criminal liability, exerting a baneful influence upon society. Therefore, the circumstances of their crimes are especially serious.

The verdict said the crime was a joint offense, with Guo acting as the principal, and Li Yang, Wang Pengfei and Wang Zhi as accessories, while Wang Pengfei and Wang Zhi's roles were less important than that of Li.

Based on the law, the court sentenced Guo and Li to prison terms of 11 years and seven years, respectively, while both Wang Pengfei and Wang Zhi were sentenced to prison terms of five years for their crime of bending the law for personal gain.

The four individuals said in court they would not appeal the sentences.

Tale of the Crime

In the latter half of 2011, Bogu Kailai and her son had conflicts with Neil Heywood over economic interests. When Heywood reportedly made threats against her son, Bogu Kailai and Zhang Xiaojun invited the British businessman to drink wine and tea at his hotel, where they poisoned him on November 13. A forensic lab under the Ministry of Public Security confirmed through toxicology tests that Heywood's death occurred due to cyanide poisoning.

Email us at: yuanyuan@bjreview.com

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