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Independent panel reviews Boss case to see if it can be re-opened



PHOTO: Vorayuth "Boss' Yoovidhya, alive and well, location unknown.

PM Prayut Chan-o-cha has asked the independent panel examining the dismissal of charges relating to the 2012 hit-and-run case against Vorayuth “Boss” Yoovidhya if it can be re-opened. Prosecutors abruptly decided not to arraign Boss on a charge of “reckless driving causing death” after the other charges relating to the incident had lapsed due to the statute of limitations.

“I’ve asked them to study if I can order a re-investigation into the case. We’re in the stage of establishing facts about the justice process.”

There has been a public outcry over the handling of the Boss case that has dragged on for nearly eight years since the incident in the Thong Lor suburb of Bangkok in the early morning of September 3 in 2012. Thais have openly opined on social media about the ludicrous aspects of the investigation, including the latest witnesses who had recently appeared, to provide contrary evidence about the crash (one of whom was killed in a motorbike incident in Chiang Mai last week), and the failure of Boss to appear in court 8 times, and eventually being able to flee the country.

Jaruchart Maadthong, one of the 2 new witnesses, was killed as a result of a collision between 2 motorbikes on Huay Kaew Road in Chiang Mai last Thursday. The incident occurred just days after he was named as one of new witnesses in the long-running case.

The PM set up a 9-member independent panel headed by Vicha Mahakhun, known as a local “former graftbuster” to examine the prosecution’s dismissal of the charges and the legal aspects of the case. He has also ordered the seizure of the body of witness Jaruchart Maadthong for a new autopsy in Bangkok to allay any suspicions about his untimely death.

The 2 new witnesses contradicted earlier evidence and had told prosecution investigators that Boss was not driving at high speed and they had seen the motorcycle of the deceased policeman, Wichian Klanprasert, “cut in front of his Ferrari”. Their statements, appearing nearly eight years after the incident, were enough to convince the prosecutors to drop the final and most serious charge.

The twists, turns and coincidences in the Boss Yoovidhya case, and the lack of a prosecution, have turned the spotlight on the Thai justice system, both in Thailand and overseas, which appears to be unable to successfully prosecute cases involving the country’s rich and famous.

The PM says that he needs to ensure transparency.

“As a supervisor of the police, I’ve asked them if they can seize the body for a new autopsy. They’ll have to talk to his family. We have to lessen the doubts with facts.”

A team of doctors at Chiang Mai University’s faculty of medicine on Monday concluded that Jaruchart died of massive bleeding in his brain and in his stomach and there were no injuries to suggest that he had been shot. They also said that the injuries were consistent with the motorbike incident and the victim’s head hitting the road. Jaruchart was not wearing a helmet at the time and, anecdotally, had been drinking before the incident.

According to Office of the Attorney General deputy spokesman the panel has held a press conference at 10am this morning to reveal the results of the investigation so far.

The head of the panel added that it was too soon to say if the committee would recommend that police challenge the prosecutors’ decision to drop the reckless driving charge and reopen the investigation.

We’ll recommend action only if it can be taken.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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