KOH SAMUI – Dr.Pornthip Rojanasunand the head of Thailand’s Central Institute of Forensic Science will testify in defense of two Myanmar men accused of killing two British tourists on the Island of Koh Tao last year.
Judges ruled on Friday to add an additional day to the trial to allow for CIFS director Dr.Pornthip Rojanasunand to take the witness stand at Koh Samui Provincial Court on 11 September.
Dr. Pornthip’s appearance was requested by the defendants’ lawyers because her agency, which falls under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Justice, is re-examining pieces of forensic evidence from the case that have only been tested privately by police. Pornthip is well-known in Thailand for disagreeing with police in several high-profile cases.
Four items collected from the crime scene on Koh Tao’s Sairee beach, including the garden believed to be used in the murder, have already been sent to the CIFS for a second examination. On Thursday, the court learned that solutions containing DNA traces taken from the victims’ bodies may also be available for a re-test.
Defense lawyer Nakhon Chompuchat said his team is still discussing which additional evidence to send to the forensic institute.
“We want to consult with Dr. Pornthip first,” Nakhon told Khaosod English on Friday.
Dr. Pornthip led the CIFS from 2008 until 2013, when the government of then-Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra declined to extend her career. She was later re-instated as CIFS director in June 2014 by the military junta.
Dr. Pornthip pioneered the Thai justice system’s focus on DNA evidence during her tenure at CIFS, but has also become a household name in Thailand for her connection to several controversies.