Defence team pokes holes in Koh Tao case

Defence team pokes holes in Koh Tao case
PHOTO: The Nation/ANN, AFP

The defence team in the Koh Tao murder case has submitted a 56-page closing statement yesterday to Surat Thani's Koh Samui Court. The team is defending two Myanmar migrant workers accused of killing two British tourists in mid-September last year.

The verdict is expected on December 24.

According to the team's press statement, the seven-member team, working on a pro bono basis, called for the court to consider dismissing charges against Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo (Win Zaw Htun) due to the following points:

The process of interrogating and charging the accused prior to prosecution was unlawful. For instance, they were questioned as "witnesses", before the testimony was turned into a so-called confession, with the duo "admitting" to murder and rape charges. They were questioned without the presence of lawyers, and were not provided with adequate translation or legal representation. Their DNA samples were collected against their wishes and, hence, are inadmissible as evidence in court.

The so-called confessions cited by the prosecution in court had been collected through torture and threats to their lives. The accused were made to sign documents and confessions even though they had no understanding of the content, and clips of them being forced to "re-enact" the crime should not be admissible as evidence in court.

No link has been shown between the alleged murder weapon - a hoe - and the accused. DNA samples from the hoe do not match those of the accused.

The DNA evidence that allegedly matches the accused as well as other surrounding or circumstantial evidence apparently proving their guilt is unreliable and should not be considered. This so-called evidence was not collected, tested or analysed in accordance with internationally accepted standards. This includes all evidence allegedly linking the accused to the crime scene, such as cigarette butts, theft of the male victim's mobile phone and sunglasses as well as the "running man" caught on CCTV.

The prosecution's case is marked by the absence of significant evidence necessary to prove the guilt of the accused. This absent evidence includes photographs of the crime scene, autopsy and DNA analysis process, chain of custody documents for forensic evidence, certain forensic evidence documents as well as a detailed DNA analysis laboratory case notes.

In addition, the clothes and the body of the female victim - which should have contained significant traces of the perpetrators' DNA - was either not tested at all, or tested but not included in the prosecution file or case evidence list. CCTV footage provided by the prosecution seemed to be incomplete.

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