19 Dec Koh Tao murder defence team wants to quiz two British witnesses

Written by Hein Ko Soe Published in Regional Read 2818 times
Koh-Tao-island-murder-case
U Aung Myo Thant (C), U Htoo Chit (L) and U Kyaw Thaung (R), members of the Myanmar embassy special team at the press conference to discuss the Koh Tao case at the Orchid Hotel in Yangon on December 18, 2014. Photo: Nyain Thit Nyi/Mizzima

The Myanmar Embassy’s special team representing the Koh Tao murder suspects claims their clients are not guilty and have called on the Samui court to summon two British witnesses.

Lawyer U Aung Myo Thant, a member of the team, told Mizzima they were calling on the court to summon Mr Christopher Ware and Mr Sean McAnna - friends of the two British murder victims Ms Hannah Witheridge and Mr David Millar - as they could be main witnesses in the case.

U Aung Myo Thant and other members of the team were gathered at a press conference at the Orchid Hotel in Yangon on December 18 to discuss the case and make the claim that their clients were no guilty.

Ms Witheridge and Mr Millar were battered to death on Sairee beach on the southern Thai island of Koh Tao on September 15. Thai police arrested Myanmar migrant workers Ko Zaw Lin Oo and Wai Phyo (aka Ko Win Zaw Htun) on October 3.

“Myanmar witnesses testify that they (Mr Ware and Mr McAnna) are related to the case. When they entered into the bar, they had injuries. Bloods stains were on their guitar. And the time was around 4 o’clock in the early morning,” said U Aung Myo Thant. “But they said they had a motorcycle accident and then they were released. Therefore, we officially requested the court to question them again.”

He said the Myanmar team made an official request on December 12.

Mr Ware and Mr McAnna had reportedly been staying with the two British victims. After questioning them, Thai police assumed they were not guilty and let them leave Thailand, according to the Myanmar team.

The Myanmar team was not allowed to cooperate with Britain’s Scotland Yard, which sent a team to investigate, and Scotland Yard did not question the two people [Mr Ware and Mr McAnna], according to lawyer U Aung Myo Thant.

His clients face the death penalty, so eyewitnesses are required, he said. But there are no eyewitnesses in the case, only DNA results and CCTV footage.

CCTV footage was missing and the DNA testing process was flawed, he claimed.

The decision as to whether Mr Ware and Mr McAnna are summoned will be made by the Samui Court judge at the trial on December 26.

The Myanmar Embassy’s special team for the Koh Tao murder case was led by Myanmar Ambassador U Win Maung, with lawyer U Aung Myo Thant, the executive director of the Myanmar Association in Thailand U Kyaw Thaung, U Htoo Chit and U Min Oo.

The Thai National Human Rights Commission has urged the Thai government to prosecute the Thai deputy chief of police because they allege the two Myanmar suspects were tortured to force them to confess, a confession they later recanted.

Last modified on Saturday, 20 December 2014 15:47