Thai beach killings: Even DNA THAI Expert questions DNA evid

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fountainhall

Re: Thai beach killings: Even DNA THAI Expert questions DNA evid

Post by fountainhall »

This has the appearance of a massive miscarriage of justice. As Oliver points out, it is utterly shameful. A key part of the prosecution was the DNA evidence.
DNA from a garden hoe allegedly used to kill two British tourists on a Thai island does not match samples taken from two men accused of the killings, a court in the country has heard.

Forensic expert Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand also criticised a failure to analyse blood found at the scene.

Police say DNA on the victims' bodies matches that of the accused.

But officers have already testified that they failed to take DNA samples from the alleged murder weapon, examining fingerprints instead.
Dr Rojanasunand, who heads a forensic unit run by the Ministry of Justice, said she had subsequently extracted two samples of DNA from the alleged weapon.

Both were from males, but neither matched the defendants, she told the court. Anyone holding the hoe for more than 15 seconds would have left DNA, she added.

Dr Rojanasunand also questioned a decision to move Miss Witheridge's body from where she was killed - potentially destroying other evidence.
http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-34217544

There was intense international pressure on Thailand to find the perpetrators given these were a particularly gruesome murders. A couple of young guys from Myanmar took part of the pressure off to consider possible Thai suspects. Any court here which relies on confessions from young foreigners who presumably had no legal representation at the time is spending too much time in cloud cuckoo land. The collection of DNA evidence was so bungled it resembles a scene from Fawlty Towers. I can understand young guys raping a young girl, the more so if she is injured and unable to fend them off. But how many would also then rape them anally? Of course, it's possible - but how likely? Use of a victim's cell[phone means precisely nothing. I do not know what was said in evidence, but he could have found it and decided to keep it.

And how many more times do we have to learn of powerful Thai families not being investigated in respect of crimes? The former head of the Tourist Authority remains at large despite it having been proved in a United States court that bribes of US$1.8 million were paid into various accounts in the names of herself and her daughter. Her US accomplices were sent to jail - and all this happened almost 7years ago.
At the Greens trial, the FBI presented large amounts of evidence including photocopies of checks showing that the Greens had paid money to Siriwan and her daughter Jittisopa in accounts in the UK, Jersey and Singapore.

Despite sending representatives to attend the trial of the Greens and evidence supplied by the U.S. investigators, the Thai authorities appeared for several years to show no interest in pursuing a case against Siriwan.
http://variety.com/2015/film/asia/jutha ... 201559001/

That lack of urgency continues.

And the son of the Red Bull heir remains at large and without even having pled to charges that he was speeding at almost 200 kph on Sukhumvit, under the influence of drugs and alcohol when in 2012 he mowed down and killed a traffic policeman. He has conveniently been out of Thailand whenever called to court.
Red Bull heir, Vorayudh "Boss" Yoovidhaya failed to meet with proscutors Wednesday to answer charges in connection with a deadly hit-and-run incident in 2012. He will be given one more "final" chance.

"If the suspect fails to appear at the next meeting without proper cause he will face arrest," he said, adding that the suspect's lawyers can lodge a petition seeking a postponement, but the request must be based on proper reasons and backed by solid proof.

He said the prosecution expects the next meeting to take place within 30 days. Police will need 15-20 days to issue a new summons and the suspect will be given 10-15 days to prepare, he added.

According to Mr Sutthi, chief of the Department of Southern Bangkok Criminal Litigation, if the suspect fails to appear without a proper reason, it will be evident he is stalling the case, which justifies issuing an arrest warrant.

He said that in the criminal process, a suspect must be brought before the court if he is not detained in jail.

A police source familiar with the case said Wednesday that once an arrest warrant is issued, the Immigration Bureau will be notified and asked to make an arrest if the suspect passes through any checkpoints.

"So far there's no need to ask Interpol to track down the suspect because the police can still contact his lawyer. So it's unlikely that he will flee," said the source."
That report was from the Bangkok Post on 26 May last year and still he is a no show. Not surprisingly the statute of limitations on the speeding charge expired a year after the event as prosecutors and lawyers were wrangling over requests from the accused for additional witnesses to be interviewed. Presumably the other charges will be mysteriously dropped in due course. In the meantime, 10 police officers and investigators on the original case were reprimanded and moved to other positions! The murdered traffic policeman's widow was paid US$97,000 after signing a settlement in which she agreed not to bring a civil case. That was far less than the value of the Ferrari he was driving! Vorayuth's father is estimated to be worth Bt. 340 billion.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/learning/lea ... ow-–-again

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Re: Thai beach killings: Even DNA THAI Expert questions DNA evid

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Thai Supreme Court announces verdict in appeal of Myanmar Migrant workers sentenced to death for murder of two British backpackers on Koh Tao.

By Adam Judd

August 29, 2019

Thailand’s Supreme Court delivered a ruling on Thursday in the final appeal of two Myanmar migrant workers sentenced to death for the murder of two British backpackers on a popular Thai holiday island.

The Supreme Court has upheld the guilty verdict and death sentence. The decision is final.

The bodies of tourists Hannah Witheridge and David Miller were found on a beach on Koh Tao island in September 2014. Police said Witheridge, 23, had been raped and bludgeoned to death and Miller, 24, had suffered blows to his head.

Myanmar migrant workers Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Htun were quickly arrested and later sentenced to death in 2015, a verdict that was upheld by the appeal court in 2017.

https://thepattayanews.com/2019/08/29/t ... n-koh-tao/

fountainhall

Re: Thai beach killings: Even DNA THAI Expert questions DNA evid

Post by fountainhall »

I recall that during the trial the most famous of Thailand's forensics experts, Dr. Pornthip Rojanasunand, at that time the head of the Central Institute of Forensic Science under the Ministry of Justice, more or less trashed the DNA evidence. Defence lawyers than asked for the alleged murder weapon, a hoe, and the police failed to hand it over for more than a year. They said they had not tested the hoe for DNA, only fingerprints. Yet when the hoe was finally sent for independent DNA analysis, the DNA on the hoe did not match those of the two Burmese. Dr. Ponthip also accused the police of failing to test the blood found at the scene.

The trial seemed basically a farce. As is well known, the police have laid false DNA trails in previous well-publicised trials. In 2001 they were caught in the act of obtaining semen from a Burmese tour guide accused of the rape and murder of Kirsty Jones in Chiang Mai. I believe that case finally collapsed.

About 3,000 Burmese worked on Koh Tao, mainly because most of them spoke much better English than the Thais. The Guardian newspaper had a perceptive article prior to the trial. It included these paragraphs -
“Shortly after the killings the migrant community started to tell us there was a lot of torture going on, a lot of abuse by the police,” recalled Andy Hall, a British activist who has lived in Thailand for a decade, mainly working with Burmese. “We sent a team down and interviewed the workers, and they were saying, ‘Help us, or they’re going to find a scapegoat.’ And then the Burmese men got arrested.”

[Thailand's leading human rights lawyer] Chomphuchat and others also stress how unlikely it is for two unworldly young men to commit such a vicious crime and then work as normal for three weeks, even volunteering for DNA tests.

. . . There are several counter theories circulating on Koh Tao about who killed Witheridge and Miller. Most centre around men associated with a dominant Thai family on the island, one of several that run dive schools, resorts and bars. A version recounted repeatedly - without any evidence - is that Witheridge had an argument with one of them at a beachside bar run by the family, shortly before the killings.
I was not at the trial and so could only depend on reports in the media - and we know how inaccurate these can be. But we also know that the police in Thailand are masters at planting evidence and fabricating it. I never believed the accused were guilty. In my book they are scapegoats.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/201 ... mafia-fear

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Re: Thai beach killings: Even DNA THAI Expert questions DNA evid

Post by Gaybutton »

fountainhall wrote:
Thu Aug 29, 2019 10:45 pm
I never believed the accused were guilty. In my book they are scapegoats.
Fortunately for those boys, death sentences in Thailand are rarely carried out. Still, if they are innocent, they've been in prison for a long time already.

Are detectives still working on this case? Has any evidence ever been found to show someone other than these boys committed the crime? If these boys really are not the ones who committed the murders, I wonder if it will ever be discovered who did.

I still think these boys are guilty, flawed evidence or not, mainly because the families of the victims did attend the trial and they were convinced then, and as far as I know still are, that these boys did commit the murder. I can't believe they would want to see the wrong people convicted while the real murderer remains free. They would have every reason to dispute the conviction if they had any doubts and thought someone else committed the crime. I know I'd be raising hell if a member of my family was murdered and I thought the wrong person was convicted.

fountainhall

Re: Thai beach killings: Even DNA THAI Expert questions DNA evid

Post by fountainhall »

Gaybutton wrote:
Thu Aug 29, 2019 11:41 pm
1. Are detectives still working on this case?

2. I still think these boys are guilty, flawed evidence or not, mainly because the families of the victims did attend the trial and they were convinced then, and as far as I know still are, that these boys did commit the murder. I can't believe they would want to see the wrong people convicted while the real murderer remains free.
1. I don't believe so.

2. I have absolutely no doubt of the families' sincerity.. On the other hand, their children were brutally murdered. They wanted justice. Against that, though, when there is a case where evidence is withheld by the prosecution, where DNA evidence is proved thar the accused could not have handled the murder weapon, when the accused did not try to flee but just went back to work as normal for three whole weeks even though it was known the police were investigating the Burmese community, when the accused voluntarily gave up DNA samples, when there are allegations of torture and forced confessions (how many times have we heard this last issue in Thailand?) and, most of all, when Thailand had to find culprits to have some credibility with the international community, I see not one small shadow of doubt I see a huge black curtain!

Behind this curtain are several other deaths on that island and the influence of the rich Thai family that controls it. There is a very interesting report in TIME magazine about what goes on on the island.
Feuding here is common and vicious. Greg Shepherd, 34, from Luton in the U.K., tells TIME he witnessed a man getting shot in the face in a bar north of Sairee Beach in the mid-2000s. “They took the victim away in a pickup truck and the barman just got a mop out and cleaned up the blood,” he says . . . it remains an open secret that “organized crime is rampant on these islands,” says Saksith. Little wonder the conversational staple of many long-term expats is, “These are the worst Thais in Thailand.”

Drugs play a key role. The sweet reek of marijuana is commonplace even in prominent beachfront bars, while cocaine and crystal meth, known locally as yaba or “crazy drug,” are not hard to find, say locals. At one establishment by Chalok Baan Chao, joints are sold for 200 baht ($6) while a magic mushroom milkshake costs 700 baht ($20). “Nice and strong,” grins the heavily tattooed barman. The families that run the island and police that guard it deny any involvement with narcotics. But the sheer ubiquity of drugs on Koh Tao suggests at the very least a high toleration of the trade.

Naturally, a pall of silence engulfs this clannish, cliquey atoll, owing in no small part to the legal standing of its foreign contingent.

. . . Theories abound on Koh Tao about who killed Miller and Witheridge. Many believe the true culprits are local, and these suspicions were fueled after a Scottish friend of Miller fled the island claiming to have had his life threatened by local thugs.

Nevertheless, few have rallied to the defense of the accused. One of Wai Phyo’s former employers, who saw him soon after Sept. 15 and noticed no perceivable change in his demeanor, has refused to be a character witness or be named by TIME. “I’ve not been threatened, but I’ve too much to lose,” he says. “This is the wild west.”
Can someone please enlighten me how a simple, smiling, barely out of his teens Burmese who desperately needs his job to send money back to his family can commit such a brutal murder and yet still act totally normally for three whole weeks? That to me beggars belief. That is the way a hardened criminal might act! These young men were anything but! Then there is the contested DNA evidence. This makes the whole prosecution case more than murky.
Forensic evidence is processed independently in the U.S. or U.K. and many other jurisdictions around the world, safeguarding a proper chain of custody. But in Thailand, the police perform the entire process. This is troubling when set against the allegations of torture made by the accused.
https://time.com/3955081/thailand-koh-t ... a-myanmar/

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Re: Thai beach killings: Even DNA THAI Expert questions DNA evid

Post by Gaybutton »

Everybody can believe what they wish, but we're only rehashing the same arguments we had 2 years ago.

fountainhall

Re: Thai beach killings: Even DNA THAI Expert questions DNA evid

Post by fountainhall »

Very true. But there can surely be no doubt that if tried under a western legal system rather than a corrupt Thai court, there would be sufficient doubt to ensure these men are not murdered by the state or left to spend their lives rotting in prison.

fountainhall

Re: Thai beach killings: Even DNA THAI Expert questions DNA evid

Post by fountainhall »

I really wonder why no one thinks it more than strange that tiny Koh Tao - population 2,000 - has had so many unexplained farang deaths. Since 2012 there have been no less than NINE such deaths.

2014 Hannah Witheridge and David Miller

2012 Ben Harrington - broke his neck when he hit a pylon on a night-time moped ride. His watch and wallet were missing. It is known that robbers put trip wire across the tracks deliberately to down those on bikes to rob them. A British coroner disputed the official finding of a broken neck and instead found the reason was a transected aorta

2014 Nick Pearson whose body was found floating in the sea. The police insist he fell 50 ft and drowned. His parents calling it was murder.

2015 Dmitri Povse, a Frenchman who was found hanged with his hands tied behind his back. It was ruled suicide.

2015 Christina Annesley died allegedly from mixing booze and narcotics, yet no toxicology testing was ever done.

2016 Luke Miller - body found lifeless in a beachside pool. The police say he was drowned. His mother says it is murder. The police stated he hit his head on a roof as he jumped into the pool. Friends holidaying with him say a local policeman initially told them he had been in a fight in another bar days earlier and that the cops suspected murder.

2017 Valentina Novoshyonova 23 vanished and has never been found.

2017 Elise Dallemange's body was found hanging from a tree half eaten by lizards. Police ruled it was suicide.

Thailand has a lot of murders each year, some unexplained. But for nine to die in suspicious circumstances on tiny Kho Tao over six years is surely some sort of record. That averages 1 suspicious farang death per 222 Thais. Project that on to the whole of the country. That results in 310,810 suspicious faring deaths over a six-year period. If anyone believes there was anywhere remotely close to a fraction of that number, it's hat eating time!

fountainhall

Re: Thai beach killings: Even DNA THAI Expert questions DNA evid

Post by fountainhall »

Yet another mysterious and unexplained island death of a tourist in Thailand and very murky actions by the Thai police. The only difference - it was on Samui.
The body of David Cornock, 37, was discovered by his wife, Grecelle, in their bungalow in Koh Samui on 2 May.

But it was eight days before a post mortem was held by which time the cause of death could not be established due to decomposition . . .

[The family is] also striving to establish what, if anything, local officers did at the scene to collect and preserve evidence. But, to date, they have had no formal response from the Royal Thai Police.

The only paperwork they have managed to obtain is a post mortem report which confirms a major delay between the discovery of David's body and the examination.

The document, which they had to translate, concluded the cause of death could not be determined due to the decomposition of vital organs.
https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-ta ... l-49279589

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Re: Thai beach killings: Even DNA THAI Expert questions DNA evid

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Remember this?
_____________

Death sentences in Koh Tao killings commuted

Myanmar migrants convicted in 2014 slayings among many benefiting from royal pardons

14 Aug 2020

Two migrant workers from Myanmar on death row for the 2014 murder of two British backpackers on Koh Tao have had their sentences commuted to life in prison under a royal decree, their lawyer said on Friday.

Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Htun were sentenced to death for the murder of David Miller and the murder and rape of Hannah Witheridge, whose bodies were discovered on a beach on the popular tourist island in Surat Thani in September 2014.

The two men were convicted and sentenced in 2015 and the ruling was upheld by an appeal court in 2017 and the Supreme Court in August 2019.

The convictions were mired in controversy, with supporters of the two men arguing that they had been framed and that they had initially confessed to the crimes under duress. The police investigation and handling of crucial DNA evidence were also widely criticised.

Their sentences will be reduced to life imprisonment under a royal pardon, their lawyer Nakhon Chompuchat told Reuters.

"The two are eligible under a section in the royal pardon decree to get their death sentences reduced to life imprisonment," Nakhon said.

"They will also have a chance to get their sentences reduced further on good behaviour."

The decree published in the Royal Gazette on Friday said the pardons were granted to commemorate His Majesty the King’s birthday on July 28.

It was not immediately clear how many other prisoners were eligible for pardons or reduction of sentences under different criteria listed in the decree.

https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/ge ... s-commuted

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