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Elizabeth Zhong homicide: Fingerprint expert says bloody print on suitcase not that of accused, Fang Sun

Murder defendant Fang Sun stands in the back of the courtroom as defence lawyers Sam Wimsett, Yvonne Mortimer-Wang and Honor Lanham address...

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Murder defendant Fang Sun stands in the back of the courtroom as defence lawyers Sam Wimsett, Yvonne Mortimer-Wang and Honor Lanham address the judge. Photo / Michael Craig

A bloody fingerprint found on the suitcase that authorities believe Elizabeth Zhong’s stabbed body was stuffed into doesn’t match the prints of business partner Fang Sun, an expert said today as testimony in the lengthy murder trial concluded.

Independent fingerprint expert Thomas Coyle, who was hired by Sun’s defence counsel, addressed jurors in the High Court at Auckland via an audio-visual feed as he disagreed with the earlier analysis of a police expert.

Sun is accused of having broken into Zhong’s East Auckland home on the morning of November 28, 2020, confronting her in her bedroom and stabbing her over 20 times before stuffing her body in a suitcase and placing her in the boot of her Land Rover. The killer then made attempts to clean up the crime scene and remove Zhong’s CCTV system, authorities have alleged.

Police found the 55-year-old businesswoman in her abandoned vehicle the following day, with the bloody suitcase by that point placed on top of her.

Auckland businesswoman Elizabeth Zhong, 55, was found dead in November 2020. Photo / Supplied
Auckland businesswoman Elizabeth Zhong, 55, was found dead in November 2020. Photo / Supplied

Fingerprint expert Lucy Schwaner testified for the Crown earlier this week that the print lifted from the suitcase was too degraded to make any judgments about who it might have belonged to. It also was not a suitable enough print to exclude anyone, she said.

“I agree it’s unsuitable for identification,” the defence expert replied today. “I disagree it’s unsuitable for exclusion…

“In my opinion, I can exclude Mr Sun.”

Coyle was the first and only witness called by defence lawyers Sam Wimsett, Yvonne Mortimer-Wang and Honor Lanham, following five weeks of testimony from witnesses called by the Crown. They concluded their evidence late this morning without calling Sun to testify on his own behalf.

Justice Neil Campbell told jurors to expect a closing argument from prosecutors on Monday, followed by an argument from the defence on Tuesday and a summing up from the judge on Wednesday – after which, deliberations will begin.



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