New case rules unlawful action by UK police in 2014 Koh Tao murders
New details emerged yesterday regarding unlawful sharing of information by British police in the much-publicized 2014 murders of Hannah Witheridge, 23, and David Miller, 24, on the Southern Thai island of Koh Tao.
The UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA), which functions like the American FBI, was found to have acted illegally when they shared phone records with Thai police that helped convict two young Myanmar Nationals, Zaw Lin and and Wai Phyo, of the murders, and land them on death row in 2015, reported The Gurardian.
Yesterday, London’s high court ruled against the NCA on five charges of unlawful information sharing in a case made by the lawyers for Lin and Phyo.
It’s because of this official anti-death legislation that the NCA can’t help foreign police agencies with information that could end in suspects being convicted of death.
The court ruled that the NCA broke laws created to prevent assisting human rights abuse abroad by countries that put people to death and allow mental or physical torture in their detention systems.
The information shared allowed Thai authorities to know the location of Miller’s phone during the evening of the murders. The prosecution used this information to claim that the suspects and victims were in the same area on the night of the crimes. This information helped convict the two Myanmar Nationals, who many have called scapegoats in the high profile case.
Maya Foa, the head of Reprieve, an anti-death penalty NGO, said the records received were used piecemeal by the prosecution and that other info held by the NCA could have helped the defnece team, but that information was not shared.
Foa weighed in by saying, “It is bad enough that the NCA secretly handed over evidence to help secure death sentences in a country known for unfair trials and torture. But they now admit they did this illegally, without any proper thought that their actions could contribute to a grave miscarriage of justice with two men now facing execution.”
The lawyers for the two Myanmar men, who now sit on death row, said that the phone records in question were the main piece of hard evidence that helped to convict their clients.