Friday 30 September 2016

Defence lawyer in Thailand tourist deaths trial disputes translator use

Published 25/09/2015 | 17:05

Two men are accused of the murders of Hannah Witheridge and David Miller
Two men are accused of the murders of Hannah Witheridge and David Miller

A lawyer for two Burmese migrant workers accused of murdering two British tourists in Thailand has claimed that official questioning of the suspects was flawed and unprofessional.

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Defence lawyer Nakhon Chompuchat said witnesses in the case of the killings of David Miller, 24, and Hannah Witheridge, 23, testified mostly about the problems of using unprofessional translators to interrogate the two defendants.

He said the witnesses were a Burmese scholar who teaches in Thailand, the translator for the Burmese embassy and the secretary to the Burmese ambassador.

The embassy interpreter, who said that he handled most translations for cases like this, said the work done by the two unofficial translators was low quality and unprofessional.

The bodies of David Miller and Hannah Witheridge were found on September 15 last year on the rocky shores of Koh Tao, a scenic island in the Gulf of Thailand known for its scuba diving.

Autopsies showed that the backpackers, who had met on the island while staying at the same hotel, both suffered severe head wounds and that Ms Witheridge had been raped.

Mr Nakhon said he believed the testimony presented this past week had done much to minimise or reduce the credibility of the case presented by police, and stated he believed the defendants still had a chance at acquittal.

The defendants recanted confessions they had made to officers, claiming they were tortured and threatened with death.

The court today allowed an extension to have two last hearings on Samui island on October 10 and 11 in order to allow the two defendants to testify.

Mr Nakhon said he believes the court may then deliver its verdict in November.

Press Association

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