New 'Boss' witnesses blame policeman for accident | Bangkok Post: learning

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New 'Boss' witnesses blame policeman for accident

Forensic police inspect a a Ferrari driven by Vorayuth Yoovidhya following the accident on Sept 3, 2012. (Photo by Somchai Poomlard)

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New witnesses who made statements that Vorayuth "Boss" Yoovidhya did not drive his Ferrari over the speed limit and that the policeman who was killed cut in front of his vehicle are the key factors which made prosecutors drop the charges.

In a leaked document outlining public prosecutors' reasons for their decision to drop the charge against Mr Vorayuth of reckless driving causing death, information from the new witnesses was given more weight than previous evidence, including forensic results.

The document said Nate Naksuk, as acting attorney-general, signed the order to drop the charge.

After the statute of limitations of three charges expired, the National Legislative Assembly's committee on justice and police affairs petitioned the Office of Attorney-General (OAG) for a fair investigation over the last charge, prompting the attorney-general to step in.

Mr Nate reviewed the investigation results and came to the conclusion the new evidence presented enough grounds to revoke the previous indictment order.

Police initially found the speed the suspect's Ferrari was travelling at was an average of 177 kilometres per hour at the time of the hit-and-run.

The speed was beyond the legal limit of 80km/h and this led prosecutors to determine that Mr Vorayuth was driving recklessly.

Two new specialist witnesses, police majors, inspected the damage to the Ferrari and the victim's motorcycle, compared it to other accidents, and agreed the Ferrari could not have been travelling at 170km/h at the at the time of the crash and was not exceeding 80km/h.

A university engineering lecturer was brought in to calculate the speed of both vehicles involved in the crash in 2017. He told investigators the Ferrari was likely travelling at 76.175km/h.

In December last year, two other witnesses were interviewed. They told investigators they were driving behind the suspect and the victim just before the accident happened.

The victim was travelling at no more than 20km/h [as shown in CCTV footage] while Mr Vorayuth was driving between 50-60km/h.

Prior to the crash, the victim's motorcycle, which was in the far-left lane, abruptly changed lanes. One of the witnesses who was driving a pickup truck at the middle lane had to brake and managed to swerve to the left to avoid hitting the motorcycle. According to his statement, the motorcycle then changed lanes and cut in front of the Ferrari in the far-right lane, causing the Ferrari to crash into the motorcycle.

Prosecutors said the crash was a "force majeure" and that "the victim's reckless driving contributed to the crash".

The prosecutors concluded the crash was not caused by reckless driving by Vorayuth.

The decision reversed the prosecutors's earlier decision to indict. The family of the victim reached a compensation agreement with the suspect.

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Vocabulary:

abruptly : suddenly and unexpectedly, and often unpleasant - อย่างกะทันหัน

Attorney-General : the top legal officer in some countries, who advises the leader of the government - อัยการสูงสุด

charge  : an official statement accusing someone of committing a crime - ข้อกล่าวหา

compensation : money that someone receives because something bad has happened to them - เงินชดเชย

exceed : to be more than something; to go beyond a limit - เกินกว่าที่กำหนด

force majeure (noun): unexpected circumstances, such as war, that can be used as an excuse when they prevent somebody from doing something that is written in a contract - เหตุสุดวิสัย

forensic : relating to the use of scientific methods to solve  crimes or to find out why something happened - เกี่ยวกับนิติวิทยาศาสตร์

hit-and-run : (of a road accident) caused by a driver who does not stop to help - ที่ชนแล้วหนี

leak (verb): to tell private or secret information to journalists or to the public; to release secret or private information, photos, etc. without permission - ทำให้รู้ความลับ, เปิดเผย

prosecutors (noun): lawyers whose job is to prove in court that someone accused of a crime is guilty อัยการ - อัยการ

reckless : not thinking about the possible bad effects of your actions - สะเพร่า

revoke : to officially say that something is no longer legal - เพิกถอน

statute of limitations : the legal limit on the period of time within which action can be taken on a crime or other legal question  - อายุความ

swerve : to change directions suddenly - เปลี่ยนทิศทาง

weight : importance - ความสำคัญ

witness : a person who sees something happen or knows about something - ผู้ที่เห็นเหตุการณ์, พยาน

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