Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Wednesday, October 15, 2014
11
CONFUSED ABOUT WHAT'S HAPPENING IN THE KOH TAO MURDER TRIAL? HERE'S A ROUGH GUIDE 

No it was this way!  No it was that  a'way!
A defendant writes

Thailand's Justice system will come under considerable scrutiny during the trial of the two young Burmese men if foreign observers are allowed and foreign police are also able to come and 'liaise'. But just how far the international spirit of c-operation will extend may be rather limited.

The main request for the Thai police will of course be to politely ask whether the two men can be separately and independently DNA tested so an absolutely new full profile can be done so this can be then matched to the sperm and other evidence Thai police have. It seems highly unlikely at this stage that this will be allowed.  Its a sovereignty issue.

Sentiment on a Facebook Page indicate how strong feelings are running despite the fact Thai police say they have caught
the killers. Their credibility it seems has hit a new low. Oh and 'Ban the Bomb too!'

There already has been some confusion in the media as to what Thai Prime Minister General Prayuth Chan-Ocha will allow. In some media he denies the Charge d'Affairs was summonsed to the Foreign Office. In some media he appears to state that both the Burmese and British envoys are satisfied with the status quo.  But he has apparently promised full assistance to international observers.

As the trial got under way yesterday there was also some confusion as to the reporting of trials in Thailand.  The Bangkok Post for instance reported what the witnesses said.  The Nation did not. But we can assume a sort of news blackout may be enforced.

British law for instance dictates that trial reports must be contemporaneous. That means reporters must send their copy in time for the next available edition of their newspaper, website, or television station.


Thailand is not so media friendly. Often judges will forbid reporters taking any notes at all (This happened in a recent case involving an American in Pattaya on extortion charges). Reporters will not be barred from the courts, but they are barred from publishing until the end of the trial.

This makes life a trifling difficult. As in real life Thailand murder trials, or any trials for that matter, can take over six years, while the record is some 20 plus years, with some defendants and several witnesses dying during the process.  
Katherine Horton

This happens because trials can sit one day a month, one day every three months, and if say a witness does not turn up, or a lawyer, as frequently happens, one can lose half a year just like that.

Ok, there's no need for journalists to be actually there one might think.  Records are kept of all court cases. Just look up the records. Well, yes, that it true, But the records are only available to the defendants or the plaintiffs, or their lawyers. The judge may however issue his judgment.

This makes it very difficult for journalists who cannot report trials day by day, cannot take notes, and who will not bother to turn up for an out of town trial if it is going to be delayed anyway. What is written it totally controlled. And how can they recall something somebody said six years ago without a note?

Kamnan Poh - sentenced but did not do time

Truck loads of prisoners every day are taken to the Thai courts. Its an endless debilitating process for them in the cells down below wondering if anything is going to happen. So why should journalists turn up.

This is why in Thailand we see endless public arrests, but never hear the result. The only results possible are or course punishment, acquittal or pay off.  In the case of the Burmese there are only two possible results, punishment or acquittal. Acquittal seems unlikely unless there are major international issues.

As for journalists, well lets suppose they can get the court records from the lawyers of either side.
What will they contain?

Killer cop - Wisetsingh before running over Vanessa Arscott and then
shooting her three times in the forehead, mouth and neck
Well what they will NOT contain is a verbatim transcript of proceedings. There will be no verbatim transcripts of anything. No recordings. Zilch.  Well there will be print out of a recording of witness testimony from a judge's dictaphone machine.  The judge listens to the testimony and summarises what is said.  He will ignore things which he or she sees as irrelevant.  This can be confusing because any given case can have several judges, sitting, one after the other - and all they have to go on are the previous judges notes.

They have to relearn the case from the beginning.  This is where a lot of things go wrong.

Now in the case of Katherine Horton, 23, who was murdered and raped in Koh Samui in 2006 the case was done and dusted very quickly. The two defendant were tried and sentenced to death within a few weeks. The death sentence was later commuted.  This was solely because the case was high profile and 'tourist related'.  The talk in Koh Samui today is even that those two were scapegoats.


In the case of the culprits being Thai police - well that process can take a little longer, as in the case of Police Sergeant Somchai Wisetsingh, who murdered Britons Vanessa Arscott and Adam Lloyd in Kanchanaburi, and who got bail immediately and was free for about nine months, and a lot longer in the case of police sergeant Uthai Dechawiwat who murdered Canadian Leo del Pinto in 2008 in Pai and was not sentenced until 2013 - during which time he managed to beat his 18 year old wife to death.

But the easiest way to be exempt from punishment for murder it seems is to be a 'head man' like Somchai Khunpleum, the Godfather of Thailand's Eastern Seaboard.  He was sentenced to 25 years in jail ten years ago - and does not really know what the inside of a prison looks like.

Killer cop Uthai - 5 years to sentence
Thai Criminal Law is in fact based on British law which was studied by Prince Rapee and imported so to speak.

There the similarity ends. There are no jury trials. They do not work in Asia where jurors perhaps are even easier to nobble than judges. There are no brilliant grillings of witnesses by the likes of George Carmen QC.

And if several languages are used during the trial, well then again it becomes a case of ' Send reinforcements we are going to advance' becoming 'Send three and four pence we are going to a dance.'

In this Comedy of Errors which even the judiciary knows is in drastic need of reform two young men's lives hang in the balance.

It would be gross to think they were being hurriedly put on trial to save tourism as peak season approaches.

11 comments:

  1. This miscarriage of justice waiting to happen is bleak indeed. Someone should make that rich kid with the freaky arm take a DNA test pronto. Disgraceful

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  2. It should be fairly easy for the accused's lawyers to get a DNA sample from each of their clients.
    This may then be able to be sent to the UK, to see if there is any kind of match with any forensics performed on the victims, post mortem, or to dispute any DNA findings submitted in court. This would not require the assistance of the RTP. May not be legally acceptable in court, but would definitely raise more than reasonable doubt.

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  3. I think all Tourists should stand up and make a stand against the country. Tourist black out until this country cleans up its act.

    The trasnparent and fair rule of law practised.

    Protection for tourists.

    International Police on the islands.

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  4. What you suggest, on the face of it, makes sense, but what would be the point of that alone? The DNA the Thai police have (apparently) matches that of the 2 Burmese, so it could not match that of the kid you refer to so he is off the hook, tested or not. Unless, of course, the UK authorities have usable DNA samples that could be matched to Freaky Arm, but what are the chances of the Thai police releasing that DNA if they did test him, or that of the Burmese, to the UK police?

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  5. And what is the probability that the original DNA they are matching to is untainted and reliable? Would you believe the police if they held up a report and said this is the DNA we got off the body and this is the DNA we took from the kids, they match? I have thought about this a good deal and think I would not. My reasons for doubt would be myriad but primarily the RTP's prior history with DNA contamination, the release of the pictures of the victims on the web that showed a very contaminated crime scene, the RTP's history of contaminating a crime scene and caring not a whit for proper legal procedure. Think alone about how rigorous the demands are of handling DNA in such cases in the West are. There are literally hundreds of places that such can go south and if anyone can take it south these boys can. My biggest fear at this point is that they do actually show a positive match to the outside world and an unknowing, uniformed public lets it go at that point. The only way I would believe that DNA is either a "completely" independent (that means non-political/diplomatic influence) confirming these two or if by some chance in Hades and independent source says no it's not them. Both of these scenario's are unlikely if not impossible. I just don't believe they have trustworthy DNA from the crime scene to start with. Sorry, didn't mean to rant.

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  6. You miss the point, I think, Bob. The existing DNA is not relevant as the source is suspect. New DNA from the Burmese, taken independently by a trusted source, is what is required and then matched with the DNA of the victims. Also, existing DNA samples of suspects should be matched with actual victim DNA, But I doubt that info will be released.

    And as AD says we have no destroyers left. In any case the UK needs Thai;and more than Thailand needs the UK. A substantial amount of UK debt is held by Thailand and China. .

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    Replies
    1. Hence the amount of Thai restaurants popping up all over the place with owners normally found down Nana ( not a joke) before divorcing their Farang partners, inheriting half his savings and a new council house.

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    2. Did you get banned from ThaiVisa? You're not making much sense.

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    3. It was you who missed my point, Matt. The existing DNA is relevant as only the results of the tests on that DNA will be presented to the court.

      We all know what we think should be happening but as justifiable and worthy those thoughts are Thailand is not going to roll over and let another country interfere, for obvious reasons.

      Delete
    4. Thanks for your two replies and I'm sorry I'm not making any sense to you.

      1. I don't like Thaivisa because of their bias and odd moderation. But why you refer to that forum in response to my post above which has nothing to do with Thiavisa rather shows you are just trolling.

      2. The DNA presented to the court needs to have a provable origin. It is VERY relevant that it must be an accurate sample. That's what everyone else is also saying. If you don't follow that then there's nothing anyone can do to explain it to you.

      And @leave thailand...Not sure your post is clear. You mean an owner in Nana buys a UK restaurant with farang money, divorces him, and then gets a UK council house? What has that to do with Thailand owning a significant amount of western debt. In lay language, Thailand is a mortgagor to western countries. The West owes that borrowing to Thailand. That's very relevant to Drummond's topic because it means that the UK and in fact even more so the US has zero leverage over Thailand. You can Google the figures and they are on the UK govt website. Thailand does owe money to other countries of course but it's held in foreign currency as a hedge and is anyway insignificant compared with what the West owes Thailand. You need to look at net debtor country figures as well as net creditor figures and it isn't that transparent for obvious reasons.

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  7. Eventuslly, the powers that be will decide. If this prosecution fails, which in any other jurisdiction apart from North Korea or perhaps Alabama it is bound to, then credibility will be lost and who knows what may follow.
    The investigation and its aftermath may well chart a different course for those involved.
    Certainly, the diplomatic faux pas of deliberately misquoting Mark Kent, that he supported the RTP and maintained the British government would seek no involvement in the investigation when he said no such thing, didn't go down well and provoked the rebuke of a summons of the Thai charge d'affaires to the Foreign Office in London. Such ineptitude suggests a lack of political grip and perhaps an inability to deal with such matters.

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