Ac­tor’s life sen­tence down­sized by courts

The Myanmar Times - - Front Page - KHIN WYNE PHYU PHYU khin­wyne­phyu­phyu@mm­times.com

Ac­tor Min Oke Soe, who was sen­tenced to life im­pris­on­ment for the 2014 mur­der of his for­mer em­ployee, has seen his charges and prison term re­duced by the Supreme Court, and will serve just 10 years be­hind bars.

MIN Oke Soe, an ac­tor sen­tenced to life im­pris­on­ment for killing an em­ployee of a mag­a­zine he owned, saw his prison term re­duced to 10 years in a rul­ing last week by the Supreme Court.

On December 25, 2014, Min Oke Soe turned him­self in to po­lice in Yan­gon, hav­ing con­fessed to beat­ing to death Tarapa mag­a­zine edi­tor Ma Nu Nu Yin the day prior at his Ba­han town­ship home.

He was found guilty of mur­der and handed a life sen­tence in July 2015, but the high court in Nay Pyi Taw ruled on Septem­ber 9 that the con­victed should have been tried on a lesser charge: cul­pa­ble homi­cide not amount­ing to mur­der. His lawyer had lob­bied pros­e­cu­tors un­suc­cess­fully for the lesser charge – re­flect­ing the ab­sence of in­tent to kill – dur­ing Min Oke Soe’s orig­i­nal trial.

Last week’s de­ci­sion re­duced Min Oke Soe’s of­fence to sec­tion 304 of the pe­nal code, from the orig­i­nal mur­der charge un­der sec­tion 302.

The bru­tal killing was re­port­edly the re­sult of a per­sonal dis­pute be­tween Ma Nu Nu Yin, who also went by Ma Tay Nu Yin, and the ac­tor.

Dis­cussing the re­duced sen­tence, lawyer U Robert San Aung ques­tioned whether the Supreme Court had han­dled the case with the “great de­lib­er­a­tion” that it re­quired.

“For mur­der cases and other ma­jor cases, if a vic­tim is killed by any means or at any time, I’d like the courts to de­cide with great de­lib­er­a­tion. I think the case of Min Oke Soe should not be changed from a mur­der case to [a cul­pa­ble homi­cide] case, ac­cord­ing to the le­gal pro­ce­dure,” he said, adding that the life sen­tence Min Oke Soe had orig­i­nally re­ceived was also in­tended to have a de­ter­rent ef­fect on sim­i­lar crim­i­nal­ity.

Crit­ics of the high court’s de­ci­sion also pointed to the sever­ity of the vic­tim’s in­juries – she died of in­ter­nal bleed­ing and was found with blunt force trauma wounds to her head, neck and torso – to ar­gue that a mur­der charge was most ap­pro­pri­ate.

“The in­juries the vic­tim sus­tained in his case are not in line with the con­di­tions of a [cul­pa­ble homi­cide] case. I’d like the Supreme Court to re­con­sider the case as a fair and just ju­di­ciary,” U Robert San Aung said.

The vic­tim’s younger brother Ko Sithu Maung ex­pressed dis­may when asked about the sen­tence re­duc­tion.

“We are so an­gry,” he told The Myan­mar Times. “The en­tire fam­ily has felt in­con­solable grief be­cause she was dis­fig­ured when she was killed. It gave me quite a shock when we heard the de­ci­sion of the court.”

“Al­though we are dis­sat­is­fied with the out­come, we can’t af­ford more tri­als like him [Min Oke Soe] as we are not rich like him,” Ko Sithu Maung added.

Ad­vo­cate U Maung Maung Win, who was hired by Ma Nu Nu Yin’s fam­ily for the orig­i­nal mur­der trial, said nei­ther he nor the fam­ily had been in­formed of the Supreme Court’s re-ex­am­i­na­tion of the case. The court heard from Min Oke Soe’s lawyer and the prose­cu­tor but no mem­bers of the vic­tim’s fam­ily, he said.

U Maung Maung Win added that he had not yet been con­tacted by the fam­ily, which as a mat­ter of last re­sort could ask the Supreme Court to re­hear the case.

Photo: Aung Htay Hlaing

Ac­tor Min Oke Soe ar­rives at a Yan­gon court, where he was on trial for – and later con­victed of – mur­der.

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