The trial over the controversial  murders of British backpackers Hannah Witheridge and David Miller is to start in a few hours time on the Thai holiday island of Koh Samui.

But first the judges will have to rule whether the defence will be allowed to examine DNA evidence and the method by which is was gathered and handled.

What the judges decide may set the tone for the trial. Many people, including Thais, believe that the two young Burmese are innocent and that the DNA evidence, which the police claims proves their guilt, may have been introduced to the crime scene artificially.

Thai justice is on trial at an island court which has a certain notoriety for controversial findings.

As the two young Burmese Zaw Lin and Wai Po are brought to the court the media have also yet to learn whether they can take notes in the court  or what other restrictions may be placed.

Judges at the trial which will sit in six three day sessions may rule that no notes are taken. They could even ban all reporting, at least in Thailand, of evidence in the case until the trial is concluded.

This is quite normal in Thai courts, while British law requires that if the reports are to gain privilege the reports must be fair, accurate and contemporaneous.

n Thai courts however there is no verbatim record. Instead the judges summarise the evidence, speak it into a tape, and the tape is transcribed by the court clerk.

At the end of each witness testimony, the defence and prosecution lawyers, defendants, interpereters etc all have to sign the judge’s version of the evidence.  The system is open to massive abuse.

For a full briefing on the case go to this link.

The case is controversial because there is a vast swath of public opinion which says that the two young Burmese migrant works are ‘scapegoats’ for influential people on the island.


  1. The Thai legal system is a joke. It is on a par with that in North Korea.
    It's a bit late now, of course, but why could the sorry mess of a place have not been colonized by the Brits in the 19th century?

    Then with British values in place, with British legal and judicial systems, the country might not have become the embarrassment which it is now.

    1. I have rarely seen a lawyer contest what the judge writes but it must happen. I certainly did in one of my cases. Of course you can refuse signing. Almost always your lawyer will tell you to sign. What you sign of course is not a verbatim record. Lawyers are more concerned and so are defendants about upsetting the judge. They DO sulk

  2. Lancashirelad. Would that be like Burma, and how Britain left the Karen people to get persecuted by the Burmese army, then, and still to this day after they gave their lives to fight against the Japanese with a broken promise of a free Karen State.

  3. Csi la reported that the dna is lost or "finished", Did anyone really think that justice would be served in this case? the money has been paid, the faces have been saved, and as the cop running the show said- everything is perfect now. But to do it in front of the international press.. wow these guys have got some balls..

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