NCA admits not seeking Ministerial consent before supplying information to the Thai police
In 2014 there two British backpackers, Hannah Witheridge and David Miller, were murdered on a beach in Thailand and for days the press was full of the story. It was reported at the time that the Thai police were extremely slow to react and allowed crucial evidence to be lost and for likely suspects to escape. It was further alleged that the Thai authorities were reluctant to take the matter sufficiently seriously because of the possible damage to their tourist trade.
Three years later the case has again hit the headlines as it now appears that the National Crime Agency has been accused of supplying information to the Thai Police. The significance is that two Burmese individuals, Zaw Lin and Wai Pho have been convicted of the murders and are likely to face execution by lethal injection. The High Court in the UK found against the NCA for providing information which contributed to the likelihood of execution. The UK government opposes capital punishment and there are strict rules governing the provision of information in these cases. Ministerial authority is needed and in this case the NCA did not get this.
Doubts have been raised about the convictions as there is evidence of corruption, incompetence and the use of fabricated evidence used to secure a conviction. The use of torture is also alleged.
A spokesman for Reprieve said:
It is bad enough that the National Crime Agency 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. UK cooperation with foreign police and security forces should be open and transparent. Government agencies shouldn’t have to be dragged through the courts for the public to know what is being done with their money.
Sources: The News; Reprieve; The Guardian; Press Association
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