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Thailand to 'allow' second DNA test for British murder accused

Bangkok, Thaïland | AFP |


BANGKOK: -- Thailand's premier said Wednesday that police will allow two Myanmar men accused of killing a pair of British tourists on a Thai island to have another DNA test, as questions mount over the murder probe.


Thai police hailed a breakthrough in their investigation of the double murders after claiming DNA from the accused migrant workers matched samples taken from the body of one of the victims and that the men had confessed.


Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Tun were charged with the murder of David Miller, 24, and the rape and murder of Hannah Witheridge, 23, after the tourists' battered bodies were found on the southern island of Koh Tao on September 15.


But last week the men, both in their 20s, retracted their confessions, alleging they were obtained under duress.


Criticism of the police handling of the case has swirled both in Thailand and overseas.


"We will allow suspects to take another DNA test," Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha told reporters after a weekly cabinet meeting. "If they think that the previous tests were unfair we will conduct a second test."


It was not immediately clear if the accused had requested a second DNA test.


Thai authorities have strongly denied using the pair as scapegoats, insisting the case is built on solid evidence showing the DNA of the accused from initial tests matches samples taken from Witheridge's body.


British police have been allowed to observe the investigation after the UK expressed concerns and offered to help with the probe.


Before the murders, Thailand was already struggling to restore its tarnished image as a tourist haven after a May coup saw martial law imposed across the country.

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Lawyer expresses doubts over new DNA test offer


Thailand's offer to conduct a new DNA test on two Myanmar suspects accused of murdering two British tourists on Koh Tao can create problem for the suspects, according to lawyer Aung Myo Than.


Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said on October 29 that they have no problem to conduct a new DNA test if critics expressed doubts about the DNA results were not fair. If Thailand conducts a new DNA test, they have to inform the lawyers of the defendants in advance and he hasn't received any letter from the Thai authorities, the lawyer told Daily Eleven.


"Thai police should make sure to have concrete evidence before the suspects are charged in court as they may face the death penalty. The police submitted DNA test as the only evidence and not a single witness was present. That's why Koh Samui prosecutors returned the case to Thai police to find further evidence.


"Now they want to conduct a DNA test again. We have to consult with the two defendants whether they want to go ahead with the second DNA test," he said.


Myanmar ambassador officially asked for help from the Lawyers' Council of Thailand on October 29 and a special delegation from Myanmar Embassy will visit the suspects at Koh Samui prison today.



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If indeed they are innocent then it would be in their interest to undergo another DNA test to check everything is transparent and correct in front independent observers.


The likelihood of both sets of results being wrong is like 1:4874378789798574895789 .........

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The likelihood of both sets of results being fixed is...?


The problem with a DNA only prosecution is that it removes the possibility that the lassie entertained the foreign laddie to a little bum sex some time before she was topped. Implausible maybe but with another life on the line it needs to be much more.

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