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Father of abandoned toddler seeks bail in New -

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Father of abandoned toddler seeks bail in New Zealand

The World Today - Thursday, 18 December , 2008 12:34:00

Reporter: Kerri Ritchie

ELEANOR HALL: To New Zealand now, where the man accused of murdering his wife and abandoning his
three-year-old daughter at a Melbourne railway station last year has applied to be released from
jail on bail.

Michael Xue was extradited to New Zealand from the United States earlier this year after an
international police search.

This morning the martial arts expert appeared in the High Court in Auckland, as New Zealand
correspondent Kerri Ritchie reports.

KERRI RITCHIE: Michael Xue walked into court this morning wearing a clean white shirt - and a
vacant expression. The 54-year-old's appearance has changed a lot since he was taken into custody

Chris Comesky is his defence lawyer.

He seems to have lost a great deal of weight?

CHRIS COMESKY: He has. I asked him the secret of that this morning because I could benefit from
that but he has lost a lot of weight and I think it is just sitting in the prison just worrying
about no funding for his defence.

KERRI RITCHIE: Michael Xue is accused of murdering his 27-year-old wife in September last year. An
An Liu's body was found in the boot of the family's car outside their Auckland home. The post
mortem revealed she'd been strangled - a tie was still wrapped around her neck.

It's alleged after carrying out the murder, Michael Xue jumped on a plane to Melbourne, where he
abandoned his daughter at Southern Cross railway station.

The murder trial is set to start in June. But it was looking like Xue might have to represent
himself. Chris Comesky says he hasn't been paid for his work and is owed a significant amount of
money. The lawyer has been threatening to quit if legal aid doesn't come through with some
assistance.

CHRIS COMESKY: This matter could have been and should have been settled within 14 days of the 10th
of March. He is a New Zealand citizen. He has been since 1998. He is as Kiwi as John Key and he
should have been granted legal aid.

It is the most shocking time of the year. I don't intend to be slaving away at my desk over the
period of the holiday season so it will be touch and go.

REPORTER: So this could be dragged out further then?

CHRIS COMESKY: Well, it could be dragged out, yes.

REPORTER 2: How does your client feel about having to be kept in prison in the meantime?

CHRIS COMESKY: Well, he has resigned to the fact that he will have wait for a trial. You know, he
was expecting that he may be out shortly to apply for a job. He is a journalist like you guys
possibly would have applied for a job with the Herald on Sunday. I hear there are quite a few
vacancies there at the moment.

REPORTER: Has he been, I suppose, well looked after or are there any issues of his internment there
in prison?

CHRIS COMESKY: No, not at all. He is well looked after at ACRP. It is a lovely little institution.
You get fed and you let looked after and you have a clean cell. I mean what more could a man ask
for - especially in these economic times.

KERRI RITCHIE: The High Court has adjourned the matter until February. Legal Aid is still
considering the application.

CHRIS COMESKY: If it's resolved with legal services then obviously the need to come out and work
and pay for your lawyer dissipates and so along with that, the application will dissipate as well.

KERRI RITCHIE: Michael Xue will spend Christmas behind bars.

Does your client ask about the welfare of his daughter?

CHRIS COMESKY: That is not a matter that I would comment on irrespective of what his inquiry was,
that will be something of a personal and client-lawyer privileged piece of information.

REPORTER 3: And you can absolutely rule out that he hasn't got a big lot of money sitting overseas
in an account?

CHRIS COMESKY: Absolutely, 100 per cent.

REPORTER 4: Does he have a good relationship with his family back home or are you expecting any of
them to come over for the trial or is he in contact with them?

CHRIS COMESKY: Well, he has no relationship with them at all. He hasn't been able to call them.

KERRI RITCHIE: His daughter is being raised by her maternal grandmother in China, where she's
reportedly doing very well.

This is Kerri Ritchie in Auckland reporting for The World Today.