Sentencing of the Chinese couple took place on Monday in Lisbon. Each of the defendants, both aged 40, were handed a five-year jail term, suspended for the same period, for the crimes of endangering or abandoning a child, aggravated by their five-year-old daughter’s death.
The child fell from the balcony after being left home alone at night while her parents went to gamble at Lisbon casino.
Upon leaving Lisbon’s Campus da Justiça following the reading of the sentence, the couple’s lawyer said he wanted to talk to his clients to decide whether or not to appeal the decision.
“Whatever the court’s sentencing today, it would never be as harsh as the one they already have. They are sentenced for the rest of their lives, from a psychological point of view; they are completely sentenced, especially the father, who is not doing well at all and has suicidal tendencies”, lawyer, Correia de Almeida, said in comments to the press.
“They will have to live with this feeling of guilt for the rest of their lives”, he added.
The lawyer revealed that the couple intends to continue living in Portugal, although their residency permit might not be renewed due to laws regarding prison sentences.
In its closing allegations, on 22 November, the Public Prosecutor said the couple should be sentenced but with a suspended sentence, as they had no existing criminal charges and they were already suffering due to the loss of their daughter, albeit a consequence brought on by their own actions.
The couple’s lawyer had asked for them to be absolved on “merely technical” grounds related to the legal qualification of the crime.
He argued the couple had not “abandoned” their daughter as the “situation was temporary.”
Lusa News Agency reports, according to the charge sheet, five-year-old Yixuan Wu was left home alone by her parents, presumably sleeping, between midnight and 3.11am, on 19 February 2016, while they went gambling at Lisbon casino.
The child is believed to have fallen from their 21st-floor apartment’s balcony, a height of 80-90 metres, after waking up and going off to look for her parents.