Actor’s life sentence downsized by courts
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.
Actor Min Oke Soe arrives at a Yangon court, where he was on trial for – and later convicted of – murder.