Thitisan refutes murder, argues for assault charges instead

PHOTO: Lawyers for Thitisan "Jo Ferrari" Utthanaphon will argue for only assault charges. (via Wikibio/CNN)

Thitisan “Jo Ferrari” Utthanaphon, along with the other 6 police in custody now for the fatal torture of a 25 year old drug suspect, denies the charges against him and is now claiming he merely assaulted the man which led to his death. Thitisan’s lawyer met with him at Phitsanulok prison last week and dispelled rumours that his client suffered from bipolar disorder, confirming that he was mentally sound.

The lawyer and his legal team do not plan to use any defence involving Thitisan’s mental stability after questions were raised regarding the possibility of bipolar disorder or similar affliction when antidepressant medications were found during the search of his room. But it is not uncommon for people in high-stress situations to self-medicate with those medications.

Thitisan’s defence team will instead argue that there was no intention to kill the suspect and their client is only guilty of assault. They admit he put 6 plastic bags over the victim’s head and bound his hands behind his back, but say there was never any thought that it would lead to his death.

Thitisan currently faces charges of premeditated murder by means of torture, malfeasance, and unlawful deprivation of liberty. The sentencing distinction between the charges he faces and the assault charge his defence will argue is the only thing he’s guilty of is wide.

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The current charges carry harsh penalties up to and including the death penalty. But the much lesser charge of assault leading to death without intention or possible manslaughter would only warrant a punishment of up to 15 years or possibly as little as 3 years.

Lawyers for Thitisan will attempt to commute any charges of premeditated murder down to an accidental death resulting from physical harm.

The 7 officers including Thitisan accused of the torture and murder are now being held at Bangkok’s Klongprem Prison after being transferred from Phitsanulok at the request of the Crime Suppression Division who is running the investigation. The other 6 suspects maintain their innocence in the case. Thitisan’s bail request has not been made yet.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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