Reasons for the delay include an appeal by the township court to the district court to reject bail for the defendant, the failure to start questioning because documents did not arrive at the original court, the denial to have legal experts lead the questioning and instead use the plaintiffs’ lawyers, and a request by the defence for the trial to be conducted according to law, said U Khin Maung Myint on Monday.
“The trial is being delayed because both sides are using legal manoeuvres. As this case is garnering a lot of public attention, both sides and the courts are making appeals,” he said.
Ko Swe Win was accused by Ko Kyaw Myo Shwe, a member of the Upper Myanmar Ma Ba Tha, of publishing defamatory articles on the internet about U Wirathu, the former leader of Ma Ba Tha, and was charged in March in Maha Aung Myay court.
Up to now, he has had 11 court hearings; however, the examination of witnesses has not yet started. Another hearing will be held December 4, said U Khin Maung Myint.
“Lawyers from both sides were at today’s hearing, but instead of the township lawyer leading the examination, the plaintiffs’ lawyers led it, so the lawyers for the defendant objected, and their plea will be submitted at the next court hearing. Also, the involvement of the plaintiffs’ lawyers in this case does not conform to law, so we objected to this. When U Zaw Wate, the plaintiff’s lawyer, was preparing to be a part of this case, an arrest warrant had been issued for Ko Swe Win, so we objected that [U Zaw Wate’s involvement] was illegal,” said U Khin Maung Myint.
Ko Swe Win rose to fame after writing investigative reports on the torture of two maids at a tailor shop, for which he was awarded the President’s Certificate of Honour.