Date set for judge­ment on Koh Tao mur­ders case

Mizzima Business Weekly - - CONTENTS -

The Koh Sa­mui Pro­vin­cial Court has set 24 De­cem­ber as the date to de­liver its judge­ment on two Myan­mar men, Zaw Lin and Zaw Ein Htun (aka Wai Phyo), who are ac­cused of mur­der­ing two Bri­tish tourists on Thai­land’s Koh Tao Is­land on Septem­ber 15 last year.

The two are charged with the mur­der of David Miller, 24, and Hannah Witheridge, 23, on Septem­ber 15, 2014, at Sairee beach on the re­sort is­land in Koh Phangan dis­trict.

Mi­grant rights ac­tivist, Andy Hall, who has been closely in­volved in the case has re­cently sum­marised his views:

“Af­ter sit­ting in 21 days of wit­ness tes­ti­mony, read­ing 1,000s of pages of ev­i­dence/doc­u­ments, there are lots of in­con­sis­ten­cies/sus­pi­cions to high­light in the defence’s clos­ing state­ment.

Seems to me per­son­ally, to re­it­er­ate again, that the only sig­nif­i­cant ev­i­dence di­rectly link­ing the two ac­cused Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo to the mur­ders is the po­lice DNA re­sults (in­com­plete ta­bles and graphs pro­duced to court only, no chain of cus­tody or case notes ever sup­plied to defence, de­spite defence re­quests and fact that th­ese lat­ter two sets of doc­u­ments are es­sen­tial to en­sure anal­y­sis of va­lid­ity of re­sults).

So Koh Tao trial re­sult/ver­dict seems to me per­son­ally (per­sonal opin­ion based on what I have seen) to come down to court’s po­si­tion on the re­li­a­bil­ity of the po­lice DNA ev­i­dence/re­sults based on the ev­i­dence pre­sented to court (charts/ graphs) and the re­li­a­bil­ity of the tor­ture al­le­ga­tions in ex­plain­ing the ac­cused’s orig­i­nal con­ces­sions.

All is­sues re­gard­ing the ac­cused’s pres­ence on Sairee beach on the night of the mur­ders (like many other peo­ple), a mobile phone, CCTV footage and cig­a­rette butts (for which DNA tests ap­par­ently con­ducted have never been brought to court) are tan­gen­tial cir­cum­stan- tial ev­i­dence only.

The main al­leged mur­der weapon (a hoe) has not in any way been linked to the ac­cused, be­yond what they said in con­fes­sions they were al­legedly forced to sign. There were no wit­nesses who claimed to see the ac­cused in­volved in the crimes they were charged with.

There were also many sig­nif­i­cant pieces of case ev­i­dence not brought be­fore Sa­mui court by the po­lice for judges con­sid­er­a­tion de­spite defence team re­quests for this in­for­ma­tion to be shared and con­sid­ered.

Ev­i­dence not pre­sented in court by po­lice in­cluded: crime scene/ post­mortem/DNA anal­y­sis pho­tos, chain of cus­tody doc­u­ments and de­tailed DNA anal­y­sis case notes needed to as­sess the va­lid­ity and re­li­a­bil­ity of DNA test­ing re­sults and pro­ce­dures.

Im­por­tantly, key tests were no­tably as part of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion not con­ducted or came back with in­con­clu­sive re­sults in­clud­ing tests on the de­ceased fe­male’s clothes that must be con­sid­ered pri­mary ev­i­dence in such a case as this, fin­ger/foot­print ev­i­dence has never been pre­sented, the hoe re­sults in­con­clu­sive too.

That’s just some key per­sonal ob­ser­va­tions from the wit­ness tes­ti­mony in court. Ob­vi­ously there are many more is­sues (trans­la­tion is­sues, whether the le­gal pro­ce­dure for in­ves­ti­ga­tion and charg­ing fol­lowed, eth­nic con­flict be­tween the trans­la­tor and ac­cused etc.) and the above shouldn’t be con­sid­ered ex­haus­tive!”

The two Myan­mar sus­pects dur­ing an ear­lier “reen­act­ment” of the al­leged mur­der of two British tourists.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Myanmar

© PressReader. All rights reserved.