Koh Tao Murders: Trial starts tomorrow

Prosecutors in the Koh Tao murders trial will present their witnesses for 12 days when the long-awaited trial begins tomorrow.

Ten months after the brutal murders of two Britons on Koh Tao, the trial will get underway at the Koh Samui Court with hearings and cross-examination of witnesses for the prosecution, according to a trial brief prepared by the defense.

In the trial’s beginning hours, the court is expected to finally address an April motion from the defense team asking for an independent review of physical evidence to be presented against Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo, the two Myanmar men accused of murdering tourists Hannah Witheridge and David Miller this past September.

OP-ED: Migrants, justice and the Koh Tao murder case

“A fair trial for Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo is essential to ensure, with more confidence, that those guilty of this crime are held accountable, and that there is no punishment of the wrong people,” Ko Sein Htay, president of the Migrant Workers Rights Network said of their crowd-funded defense team.

The first phase of the trial will run Wednesday through Thursday.

Tomorrow the prosecution is expected to call the first witnesses to see the victim’s bodies in the early hours of Sept. 15, including a beach cleaner; the staff and the owners of the nearby restaurant/bar; and investigators.

On Thursday and Friday, the prosecution is expected to call witnesses to provide testimony establishing the movements of the victims and suspects, as well as crime scene investigators, according to the defense brief.

When the trial begins, watchers will be scrutinizing the court as much as the evidence. The trial comes on an investigation widely panned for irregularities and misconduct, including allegations of torture of suspects and coersion of witnesses.

After blaming migrant workers in the first hours of the investigation, police officials surprised few domestic and international observers when less than a month later they said the two Myanmar men were responsible.

They have argued their case is airtight and is supported by DNA evidence collected from the crime scene.

Photo: Migrant Workers Rights Network

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