Bo Xilai, once one of the most powerful people in China, lost his appeal yesterday against a life sentence for corruption, embezzlement and abuse of power.
The 64-year-old former Communist Party chief, whose wife was found guilty last year of murdering Neil Heywood, a British businessman and family friend, appeared relaxed in clips on state television of the hearing in the north-eastern province of Shandong.
The court's decision was not a surprise. "Everyone predicted the appeal would be rejected," said Li Xiaolin, a lawyer close to the family of Mr Bo's wife, Gu Kailai.
"He can still appeal to the supreme court in Shandong and then in Beijing, but I do not know if he will do that."
Li Zhuang, a lawyer who was imprisoned under Mr Bo's regime in the western city of Chongqing, said he did not think there would be a further appeal.
"He knows exactly what he has done and the actual crimes he has committed are a hundred times greater than what has been presented in court so far," he said.
Chinese authorities said the court was open to the public, but no foreign journalists were admitted.
Some of Mr Bo's family were said to be present.
Afterwards, issuing its judgment, the court rebutted the 11 grounds on which Mr Bo had appealed.
Responding to Mr Bo's claim that he had been forced to confess while in detention, the court said: "Only testimony made under physical punishment or other means which causes the defendant physical or mental pain can be described as having been collected illegally."
Mr Bo, who enjoys widespread public support, also said his wife's testimony should be dismissed, especially since she did not appear in court.
However, the court ruled that her written statements and video interview showed she "had a clear perception of the questions from investigators".
China's state media trumpeted the original five-day trial as a "historic" example of transparent justice and evidence of the country's rule of law.
But Mr Bo's appeal was held in secret, with court officials travelling to meet him in an undisclosed detention centre and reviewing the evidence from his initial trial.
The court said Bo's offences "led to extremely severe social consequences and caused major damage to the interest of the country and the people," according to the ruling, posted on the court's website.
Bo is expected to serve his term at Qincheng Prison, north of Beijing, which houses offenders from the political elite and is plush by Chinese prison standards.
The conclusion of Bo's case bolts the door on a vexing scandal for the party leadership that included embarrassing revelations that Bo's wife murdered a British businessman and that his former aide made a failed attempt to defect to the United States. (©Daily Telegraph, London)