Myanmar Court Attempts to Retrieve Missing CCTV Footage in Toddler Rape Case
By Zarni Mann 17 December 2019
MANDALAY – The Dekkhinathiri District Court in Naypyitaw on Tuesday began inspecting the hard disk of a CCTV system belonging to the nursery school at the center of the “Victoria” toddler rape case, in an attempt to retrieve missing evidence.
Video footage captured by the CCTV system’s cameras on the day that the victim, dubbed “Victoria” by the media, was allegedly raped at Wisdom Hill nursery school was initially copied to a USB stick from the CCTV recorder’s hard drive by Ko Yan Naung Htay, a technician employed by the school. He later turned both the USB and the recorder’s hard drive over to police.
Police later returned the hard drive to the school, which eventually returned it to the court. At some point in this process, files containing footage from the day of the alleged crime disappeared from the hard disk, prompting the victim’s lawyers to request that the court inspect the device.
“We are here to observe the inspection and will collect data and monitor the inspection process. We will release our findings once the inspection is finished. Once the final results of the inspection are known, the case will become clearer,” said Daw Ywat Nu Aung, a lawyer for the victim.
The lawyers said the inspection would take time and could not be finished in a day. The court was allowing the lawyers to observe the inspection to ensure the results are released transparently and truthfully, they said.
Meanwhile, CCTV evidence submitted to the court on the USB stick included 11 videos from May 16, the day of the alleged rape.
Lawyers who saw the CCTV files that were transferred to the USB and submitted to the court told the media that the video files were corrupted in three places, for periods of 11 minutes, eight minutes and five minutes respectively. The corrupted videos were taken in both the afternoon and evening.
According to the victim’s lawyers and supporters, the court’s technicians on Tuesday were attempting to both retrieve the missing data and determine the cause of the file corruption.
At Wednesday’s session, the court is due to hear from two teachers at Wisdom Hill nursery school including Daw Hnin Nu, the class teacher of the victim. Daw Hnin Nu allegedly cleaned the victim after the attack.
“Victoria” was 2 years old at the time of the crime in May.
A complaint was filed over the sexual assault on May 17 against Aung Gyi (aka Aung Kyaw Myo), who worked as a driver for the supervisor of the nursery school.
After a medical examination, Aung Gyi was released in late June, as a DNA test showed that sperm found on the girl’s body was not his.
However, he was rearrested on July 4 and charged under Article 376 of the Penal Code.
Victoria’s case has drawn widespread condemnation and interest countrywide. Many believe Aung Gyi is a scapegoat and that the actual culprits are still at large.
The Irrawaddy reporter Moe Moe contributed to this story from Nayipyitaw.
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