Judge rejects Carlsberg request to skip court hearings

By HEIN THAR | FRONTIER

YANGON — The judge hearing a case against six senior employees of the local arm of Danish brewing giant Carlsberg has rejected a request to excuse three foreign defendants from attending each hearing in person.

Myat Hmwei Trading Company has accused the Myanmar Carlsberg Company employees of cheating under section 420 of the Penal Code, which carries a punishment of up to seven years’ imprisonment and a fine. 

Defence lawyer U Tin Thaung submitted the request at a hearing on September 20, arguing that it was not necessary for the foreign defendants to attend every court hearing at Thingangyun Township Court, because they could not understand what was being said.

However, judge U Than Lwin dismissed the application today on the grounds that the defence had failed to provide a strong reason for being granted leave. He said there was no reason the defendants should not come to court regularly.

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Tin Thaung refused to comment about the decision after the hearing. “We tried according to the law and the judge didn’t accept it. It will not affect the outcome of the case,” he said.

Myat Hmwei managing director U Ye Tun told Frontier on August 27 that Myanmar Carlsberg owed his company cartons of Yoma Beer worth the equivalent of K600 million (US$395,000) under a “buy three, get one free” promotion.

Tin Thaung said Myat Hmwei had submitted inaccurate and varying computations and unfounded sales reports to request more promotional products than it was due.

He questioned why the complainant was using the Penal Code to settle a commercial dispute. “This dispute is about money. If he wants money back, it should be done through a civil case,” Tin Thaung said.

The next hearing is scheduled for October 22, at which judge Than Lwin said both sides would have to agree to a case management plan. Under this plan, the plaintiff and defendant would have to meet and discuss the case, said the plaintiff’s lawyer, U Kyaw Win.

“Under the CMP, before the court starts to examine the case both sides will discuss openly what we want, how we shall go about the case and what we need. The main point of the CMP is to conclude the case faster,” he said.

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