Koh Tao murder trial resumes Wednesday


Koh Tao murder case Myanmar migrant accused Wai Phyo/Zaw Linn and Win Zaw Htun arrive at Samui Provincial Court for 3 days hearing on July 22, 2015. Photo: Migrant Worker Rights Network

The mothers of the two Myanmar migrants accused in the Koh Tao murders of two British tourists have flown in to support their sons as the hearing resumes Wednesday at Samui Provincial Court.

Zaw Lin, 22, and Win Zaw Htun, 21, are standing trial over the rape and murder of Hannah Witheridge, 23, and the murder of David Miller, 24, on the resort island in September last year.

The defendants pleaded their innocence during a hearing earlier this month. They claim they were forced to confess to the crimes after police punched and slapped them during interrogations.

"They covered our heads with black plastic bags and threatened to stab us with a nail-like object," they said through translators, referring to the interrogations and the re-enactment of the murders on Sept 15, 2014. They later retracted their confessions.

The hearing this week will go into details about the crime scene re-enactment, CCTV analysis, and the police investigation that led to the arrest of the migrants, according to defence lawyer Nakhon Chompuchat.

The defence team has asked to re-examine the crime scene forensic evidence and DNA samples. "It's still not clear whether we can re-examine the forensic evidence as the list of the items used to collect the evidence is yet to reach the court," said Mr Nakhon.

As for the DNA re-examination, the Samui prison has complied with a court order allowing a forensic team from the Justice Ministry to collect new DNA samples from the defendants, but the ministry has yet to fix a date to visit the prison, he said.

"There are various procedures involved in the forensic and DNA collection process as well as the lab analysis of the semen inside the body [of Witheridge]. We don't know how much of the forensic and DNA evidence is still left in the authorities' possession that we could re-examine."

During the hearing on July 8-10, a Myanmar man named Kamal was to act as a court translator, but the defendants objected, claiming he was one of the men who assaulted them.

"He was translating for the police who were interrogating us and after we denied [the crimes], they put the bags on us and punched us. I remember his voice," said Zaw Lin.

The defence team successfully argued the man was on the prosecutor's witness list so he couldn't attend the hearing in another capacity before his appearance as a witness.

http://bangkokpost.com/news/general/630084/koh-tao-murder-trial-resumes-...

More Articles

....