#Koh #Tao #Murder #Case #Legal #Defense #Team#Closing #Statement

Press Release: 26th October 2015

12115678_10153269824750677_1687308710362307678_n
Koh Tao Murder Case Legal Defense Team Submits 56 Page
Closing Statement as Opinion for Koh Samui Court to Consider

For further enquiries on this press release, please contact:
1. K. Nakhon Chompuchat (Head Defense Team Lawyer nakhonct@gmail.com +66(0)818 473086)
2. Mr. Andy Hall (MWRN International Affairs Advisor andyjhall1979@gmail.com +66(0)846 119209)
3. Ko Sein Htay (MWRN President kzlinn.sein@gmail.com +66(0)946 792478)

A team of pro-bono lawyers working under the Lawyers Council of Thailand (LCT) to defend two Myanmar migrant workers accused of the rape and murder of a female British tourist and the murder of a British male tourist on Koh Tao Island, Thailand in September 2014 today submitted a 56 page closing statement as an opinion for Koh Samui Court to consider in issuing a judgement in the case. The written statement is the final part of a one year effort by a core team of 7 Thai lawyers supported by Burmese, Australian and British translators, assistants and advisors to ensure a fair trial and adequate defense for the accused. Case witness testimony that ended on 11th October 2015 after 21 days of witness hearings involving 34 witnesses and thousands of pages of evidence has already been widely publicised by the media. Koh Samui Court has appointed both parties to the case on 24th December 2015 to hear a verdict.

Hannah Witheridge (23) and David Miller (24) were murdered on 15th September 2014 on Koh Tao, a tourist island in the Gulf of Thailand. The murder investigation was widely criticised both domestically and internationally due to alleged mishandling of forensic evidence and alleged torture both of the two accused and migrant workers living on Koh Tao Island. The challenges faced to Thailand’s law enforcement and justice systems in this case also cast a serious shadow over the safety of tourism in Thailand.

On 2nd October 2014, Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo (Win Zaw Htun), 22 year old migrant workers from Rakhine state in Myanmar, were arrested for immigration offences. Additional charges were then laid against them during questioning for rape, murder and theft related to the killings of Hannah Witheridge and David Miller. The two accused signed confessions during interrogation and also publicly and during questioning re-enacted the crimes.

On 14th October, at a first advance witness hearing in the case, both accused then retracted their confessions to LCT lawyers. Later on defense lawyers received information that the two accused alleged beatings and torture were used during their detention, prior to sending on for questioning by investigation officials, to elicit their confessions made involuntarily. The Migrant Worker Rights Network (MWRN) and rights groups called on the LCT to provide trained lawyers for the accused to ensure they could adequately defend themselves against all the charges so as to ensure a fair trial and also importantly to guard against a potential miscarriage of justice in such a highly publicised and tragic case.

A two month delay in prosecuting the accused resulted from extensive media and diplomatic attention towards the case in addition to calls for justice by the accused, their families and the wider public. This resulted in further questioning of the accused that confirmed that both maintained their complete innocence and insisted their confessions came about involuntary as a result of torture. Multiple criminal charges were then filed against Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo on 4th December 2014 by the Koh Samui prosecutor at Koh Samui Court. The judges heeded calls for adequate time to prepare a thorough defense for the accused and, after a number of preliminary evidence exchange hearings, a 21-day trial eventually commenced on 8th July 2015. Continue reading “#Koh #Tao #Murder #Case #Legal #Defense #Team#Closing #Statement”

#KOH #TAO #MURDER #CASE #Koh #Samui #COURT #1day

In addition many issue prosecution seemingly hoped to come out did not as key witness said didn’t know forgot or couldn’t see images clearly

Whilst fully respect court decision proceed witness testimony 2day personally believe decision impeded again accused right to fair trial.

Appointed defense lawyers had 30 minutes with accused yesterday and arrived late last night. Right to fair trial means adequate prep time.
Defense team strongly request witness hearing postponed today for 1 month for time to prepare. Prosecution cited fear witnesses abscond. Court refused defense petition and heard the witnesses today.
Today court heard testimony from 3 male witnesses, 2 documented, 1 undocumented. All young. One witness holding guitar at all times.

Samui court Koh Tao case now ended1st day advance hearing of 3 complete prosecution witnesses. All eyes turn back to prosecutor/police.
Next stage police complete case file modifications according to prosecutor request and send back to prosecutor for decision prosecute or not

The 2 myanmar migrant accused in Koh Tao murder case both appeared in court today sitting just in front of me looking calm and seemed in good health, chatting together like young brothers or friends.
When in court, looking at them, couldn’t help wonder if the 2 young small accused myanmar migrants before me really knew they are at center of an international political storm.

1489046_855970751113745_541407281615354607_n

Speaking with head of Koh Tao murder investigation police team Major General Paween at Samui court today

1888600_10152554946905677_3279658541705025206_n

Morning,  from Koh Samui island to attend 1st hearing for witness statements Koh Tao murder case 10am Koh Samui court

Accused migrants in Koh Tao murder case appointed lawyers team in Koh Samui prison 2day, an array of Thailand’s best human rights lawyers.

1394391_1503130513282401_831657620575131640_n-1

Deeply concerned how defence lawyers, arrived island late 2day, spend minutes with accused, can prepare in time hearing starting 10am 2day