Myanmar Court Rejects Bail Bid in Toddler Rape Case

By Zarni Mann 23 October 2019

MANDALAY – Naypyitaw’s Dekkhinathiri District Court on Wednesday rejected bail for Aung Gyi, the defendant in the high-profile toddler rape case.

“The judge said the court can’t grant bail at this stage, because it could affect the whole lawsuit,” U Khin Maung Zaw, a defense lawyer, said outside the court.

The bail request was submitted on Sept. 24 on the grounds that there was no evidence against Aung Gyi, also known as Aung Kyaw Myo.

The child victim told the court that she did not know Aung Gyi, and no other witnesses gave evidence against him. Aung Gyi worked as a driver at Wisdom Hill nursery school, the school attended by the victim, who has been dubbed “Victoria” by the media.

The legal adviser said bail could not be granted for the offense.

The lawyers for the defendant said the court’s decision was made according to the law because not all witnesses had been heard.

“We will wait for the right time and listen to the testimonies of the witnesses and then apply for bail again,” said U Khin Maung Zaw.

At the ninth session on Wednesday, the court heard from a teacher and the technician who operated the CCTV at the nursery school.

Lawyers for the defendant said the teacher clearly stated that their client was not the culprit.

“The teacher stated that Ko Aung Gyi did not commit the sexual assault of the toddler as he was on a couch during the incident,” said defense lawyer Daw Su Darli Aung.

“She also added that the children, including the victim, were with her and the other two teachers the whole time and they did not see Aung Gyi. No witnesses said Aung Gyi was the culprit,” she added.

The CCTV technician will have to complete his evidence on Nov. 6 along with a teacher.

The court is also due to watch CCTV video, some of which shows Aung Gyi.

He was the driver for the supervisor at the Naypyitaw nursery school. He faced a complaint on May 17 of sexual assault of the toddler.

Aung Gyi was charged under Article 376 of the Penal Code on July 4.

Victoria’s plight has sparked widespread condemnation with many believing Aung Gyi is a scapegoat and the actual culprits are still at large.

Protests in Yangon, Mandalay and Monywa have called for justice for the toddler and for greater attention to the issue of sexual assault of young girls.

Meanwhile, lawyers of Aung Gyi, as well as the lawyers and the family of the victims, are being sued by Daw Ohnmar Hlaing, the supervisor of the school, for implicating her two teenage sons in the case.

Pobbathiri Township Court in Naypyitaw heard from the plaintiff’s witness on Tuesday at a separate case against Daw Su Darli Aung.

Daw Ohnmar Hlaing requested that the court remove her sons from the witness list as they were depressed and were unfit to appear in court.