Nate probe is a letdown
The latest decision of the Public Prosecutor Commission (PPC) to launch another probe against former deputy attorney-general Nate Naksuk for his questionable failure to indict Red Bull heir Vorayuth Yoovidhya in the infamous hit-and-run saga should have given a more positive image to the Office of the Attorney-General (OAG).
What is interesting is that the new probe will not only look into Mr Nate and whether or not he conducted any severe disciplinary wrongdoings, but also that another senior state attorney is reported to be facing a probe for allegedly tampering with evidence in favour of the Red Bull heir.
Unfortunately, the news has not been well received. On the contrary, the new probe against Mr Nate is perceived by critics as just a tactic to buy time. Those doubts are understandable. During the past two years, the OAG -- under the PPC's supervision -- has conducted four probes: two into irregular evidence and another two into disciplinary procedure, mainly against Mr Nate.
The public has yet to see any meaningful conclusions.
Indeed, the move by the PPC came as a surprise. It came after the unconfirmed news earlier this month that the previous internal probe by the OAG had found Mr Nate did not commit any serious disciplinary violations when he decided not to indict the Red Bull heir, which drew heavy criticism.
It was confirmed that nine of the 13 commission members in attendance found that in deciding not to indict Mr Vorayuth, Mr Nate had acted without thorough judgement and had been careless.
It was reported that Attorney-General Wongsakul Kittipromwong and his deputy, Chaiya Premprasert, had abstained from voting. That could mean that the majority of the team from the previous probe found Mr Nate's judgement in this notorious case careless.
The PPC -- the committee that will endorse this probe's outcome -- made a U-turn on Monday by ordering a new probe against Mr Nate over severe disciplinary wrongdoings.
This latest inquiry will take at least 60 days to conclude its findings. However, the deadline can be extended three times. It is possible that it might take another six months to conclude.
Mr Nate, however, also reserves his right to petition the Administrative Court to overturn the decision to investigate him.
The public has been demoralised by the conduct of the OAG and Royal Thai Police (RTP) in handling the case of Mr Vorayuth, who mysteriously fled the country in 2017 and is believed to be living in his London flat while the statutes of limitations on his charges have expired.
Only two charges now remain active. The first for drug use after cocaine was found in his system following the incident, which expires on Sept 3 next year.
The second -- reckless driving causing death -- remains valid until 2027, although the OAG initially dropped the charge before subsequently deciding to pursue it again.
After nine years, the public remains in doubt as to whether public prosecutors will ever face Mr Vorayuth in a court of law.
The OAG and the RTP could and should have restored public trust by finding the culprits -- the 13 officials in the national investigation team that violated Thai law when they assisted Mr Vorayuth.
Failing to spot and do away with these bad apples has seen public trust in the nation's justice apparatus ebb to near irredeemable levels.
Bangkok Post editorial column
These editorials represent Bangkok Post thoughts about current issues and situations.
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