Judge Delay’s Independent Examination of Forensic Evidence in Koh Tao Murder Case
SURAT THANI – Lawyers for Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Htun who are charged with the murder of a Jersey man and a fellow traveler on the Thai island of Koh Tao are “deeply concerned” that key forensic evidence will not be re-examined before the trial.
David Miller, 24, and Hannah Witheridge, 23, from Norfolk, were killed in Thailand last September.
Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Htun, both 21-year-old bar workers from Burma, are set to stand trial on July 8 on charges of murder and rape.
Their defense lawyers have asked for forensic evidence gathered by Thai police to be sent to independent experts, but the judge in the case said that he will not rule on the matter until the first day of the trial.
Lead lawyer Nakhon Chomphuchat told the BBC: “I am now deeply concerned at this developing situation. Without re-examination of this evidence … the ability of the two defendants to defend themselves against the serious crimes they are charged of will be seriously impeded.”
The lawyers have now been told the court will only issue an order for re-examination of the forensic evidence on July 8, the first scheduled day of the trial. “The defense lawyers urgently need both crucial information gained from the re-examination of forensic evidence in this case and also adequate time to consider this information prior to the trial beginning,” Mr Nakhon said.
With no witnesses to the murders, forensic analysis is likely to be central in deciding the outcome of the case, says the BBC’s Jonathan Head in Bangkok.
Thai police have described their investigation as “perfect”, despite failing to control the crime scene and the flurry of conflicting police statements issued in the first weeks of the investigation, our correspondent says.
In October, both defendants said that they had been beaten by local police into confessing to the murders.
The victims’ families have said they are keen to see the “right people” convicted.
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