The presiding judge at Kamaryut Township Court in Yangon has adjourned until next Monday hearings against Ross Dunkley, co-founder of The Myanmar Times and publisher of The Phnom Penh Post, in a case associates have previously claimed is related to a business dispute.
The decision to adjourn the case came after a hearing on Tuesday lasting just 15 minutes, during which Dunkley, 53, testified that he had been doing business in Myanmar since Myanmar Consolidated Media was established in 2000.
He said his current partner in the foreign joint venture is the Swesone Media Group, owned by Tin Tun Oo, the chief executive officer of MCM.
Dunkley, the managing director of MCM and editor-in-chief of the English edition of The Myanmar Times, told the judge the at hearing, the 14th of the case, that his relationship with his Myanmar partner was good and that the business was successful.
Dunkley was arrested on February 10 after being accused of assaulting a 29-year-old woman and breaching immigration regulations.
At the previous hearing on May 11, the judge accepted an application from the woman to withdraw criminal charges against Dunkley. The woman had first sought to have the charges against Dunkley withdrawn at a hearing in February, but the judge declined at the time to accept her application.
In a statement at the time of Dunkley’s arrest, David Armstrong, the chairman of The Post’s publisher Post Media Ltd, said the incident “coincides with tense and protracted discussions Mr Dunkley and the foreign ownership partners in The Myanmar Times have been conducting with local partners about the future direction of the publishing group”.
Tin Tun Oo and U Wai Linn, the chief operating officer of MCM, have since put up a surety for Dunkley’s bail, however, and the Australian was released from Yangon’s Insein prison on March 29.
Tin Tun Oo, who is also the editor-in-chief of the Myanmar edition of The Myanmar Times, attended the hearing on Tuesday, as did Bill Clough, an Australian business partner of Dunkley and an investor in The Phnom Penh Post.