'Justice has failed' in Vorayudh hit-and-run
A human rights lawyer and former senator Tuesday criticised legal authorities for acting dishonestly in the Vorayudh Yoovidhaya hit-and-run case.
- Published: 4/09/2013 at 01:28 AM
- Newspaper section: topstories
This was the scene the morning that Pol Snr Sgt Maj Wichian Klanprasert was killed by a car allegedly driven by the indescribably wealthy youth, Vorayudh Yoovidhaya. (Bangkok Post file photos)
The heir to the Red Bull energy drink fortune is facing an arrest warrant after repeatedly failing to report to prosecutors to hear indictments against him for a collision last year which killed a police officer.
"Any ordinary suspect would have been indicted long ago," Warin Thiamjaras, the human rights lawyer, said.
"I believe this suspect intends to jump bail. He won't mind if the bail surety is confiscated, even if it costs him 20 million baht, as it really is nothing to a person as wealthy as him."
He said Mr Vorayudh could go into hiding overseas and wait until the statute of limitations in the case expires in 15 years. Then he could return home freely, Mr Warin said.
"We cannot blame anyone for the way things are other than those senior officials who fail to maintain justice," said Mr Warin, who described the case as "an act of systematic double standards".
Mr Warin also urged a petition be filed with the National Anti-Corruption Commission and the Office of the Ombudsman to investigate all the officials involved in this case.
On Monday, Mr Vorayudh, 28, had his lawyer Thanit Buakhiew, present public prosecutors with a doctor's letter stating he was not physically fit to report to them.
It was his sixth no-show since facing charges in connection with the hit-and-run on Sept 3 last year.
Mr Vorayudh crashed his Ferrari into the rear of the motorcycle driven by Pol Snr Sgt Maj Wichian Klanprasert on Sukhumvit Soi 47.
The officer died at the scene. Mr Vorayudh had been charged with reckless driving causing death, speeding and failing to stop a vehicle to help a victim.
The statute of limitations on the speeding charge expired Tuesday, a full year after the hit-and-run.
Prosecutors said on Monday they would send a letter to notify the police about their decision to issue an arrest warrant for Mr Vorayudh.
Pol Col Samrit Ketyaem, an investigator at Thong Lor police station, said they expected to issue the warrant by Tuesday and would then forward a copy of the warrant to the Immigration Police.
According to Mr Vorayudh's lawyer, the heir to the Red Bull fortune is now ill and staying in Singapore.
A senior prosecutor in charge of the case, Ruecha Krairiksh, said he did not think the expiry of the speeding charge's statute of limitations would benefit Mr Vorayudh when fighting the remaining two charges in court.
The prosecutors would still include the speeding allegation as supporting evidence for why Mr Vorayudh was charged with reckless driving when indicting him, Mr Ruecha said.
The penalty for speeding would only be a fine, he said.
The criminal case would go ahead despite the fact that Mr Vorayudh had already paid 3 million baht in financial aid to Pol Snr Sgt Maj Wichian's brother and covered the costs of the victim's funeral.
The only difference was that Mr Vorayudh had demonstrated attempts to mitigate the impact of Pol Snr Sgt Maj Wichian's death on his family.
Mr Ruecha said he personally believed Mr Vorayudh would soon return home and that the reason he had not shown up this time was possibly because he still needed more time to prepare himself for the legal proceedings.
Once the arrest warrant is out, the police would then be able to arrange to have the suspect extradited to Thailand, Mr Ruecha said.
About the author
- Writer: Amornrat Mahitthirook and Onnucha Hutasingh