Ex-Democrat Party deputy cleared of abduction charges in Thailand

Photo courtesy of KhaoSod

The court dismissed the case against Prinn Panitchpakdi, a former deputy leader of the Democrat Party, stating that the case is time-barred as it was not reported within three months.

The court found no wrongdoing in the case of abducting a minor as the defendant had voluntarily driven the minor home without deviating from the route. The incident occurred at 9.30am today, December 14.

Prinn Panitchpakdi was accused by the prosecutor in case number 1849/2565 of abducting a minor, aged above 15 but below 18, for immoral purposes. According to the prosecution, at noon on April 25, 2018, the defendant abducted a 17 year old girl from her parents or guardian for immoral purposes.

The girl was willing, and the defendant used his right hand to hold her left hand and his left hand to hold her thigh, a situation she could not resist. This act of immorality happened in broad daylight in the Din Daeng district of Bangkok.

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The court, after hearing the evidence and testimonies of the prosecution and Prinn, found that at the time of the incident, the minor, a 17 year old girl, was interested in a vocational training programme. She had enrolled and was training at a company owned by the defendant.

The defendant had arranged a table for her to sit right in front of his office and often called her into his office to chat. There were several instances of hand-holding and shoulder patting, which she thought was an elder’s affection for a child.

After a party one day, the former deputy leader volunteered to drop her at her condominium in his private van, which had heavy curtains separating the driver from the passengers and tinted windows. On the way, he flirted with her in English, held her hand, rubbed her arms and thighs, and pulled up her skirt, which she resisted and asked to be dropped off at a train station en route to her condo.

Prinn agreed, and she left the van. The incident was not reported to anyone out of fear, and she did not continue with her training and resigned. In May last year, after hearing from the media about the defendant’s immoral acts with several other young women, she told her mother about the incident and reported it to the investigating officer.

Evidence examined

The court, after examining the evidence, found that even though this was a case of immorality involving a person aged between 15 and 18 years, which is an offence that can be compromised, and the victim did not report to the investigating officer within three months of the incident, the case is time-barred. Hence, the prosecution is suspended according to the Criminal Procedure Code, Article 39(6).

As for the case of abducting a minor aged between 15 and 18 years from the parents for immoral purposes, the defendant had volunteered to drop the victim from his company to her condominium. During the trip in the van, Prinn did not deviate from the route, but when he held her hand and rubbed her arms and thighs, she asked to be dropped off en route, which the defendant agreed to.

Hence, this does not constitute abducting a minor from the parents. After hearing the evidence of the prosecution, the court did not find Prinn guilty as accused and dismissed the case, reported KhaoSod.

After the verdict, Prinn’s expression remained stoic, and he quickly left without giving any interviews to the media. Reportedly, earlier, the South Bangkok Criminal Court had sentenced the former Democrat deputy leader to four years in prison in a sexual harassment case involving Anna, the former wife of High-So Luknut Tanat Tanakitamnuay, and ordered him to pay two million baht in compensation.

In addition, the South Bangkok Criminal Court had sentenced Prinn to two years in prison in two other cases and two years and eight months in another case but dismissed one case. Moreover, the Chiang Mai Provincial Court had also dismissed one case against him.

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Nattapong Westwood

Nattapong Westwood is a Bangkok-born writer who is half Thai and half Aussie. He studied in an international school in Bangkok and then pursued journalism studies in Melbourne. Nattapong began his career as a freelance writer before joining Thaiger. His passion for news writing fuels his dedication to the craft, as he consistently strives to deliver engaging content to his audience.

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