Court upholds jail term without suspension for tycoon Premchai

Court upholds jail term without suspension for tycoon Premchai

Premchai Karnasuta arrives at the Criminal Court in Bangkok on Tuesday to hear the Appeal Court's ruling. (Photo: Somchai Poomlard)
Premchai Karnasuta arrives at the Criminal Court in Bangkok on Tuesday to hear the Appeal Court's ruling. (Photo: Somchai Poomlard)

The Appeal Court on Tuesday upheld the lower court's six-month prison sentence for construction tycoon Premchai Karnasuta, without suspension, for illegal possession of guns.

Mr Premchai's lawyers said they would appeal to the Supreme Court, which later approved his continued release on unconditional bail, with 500,000 baht cash placed as surety.  

On April 11, 2018, Mr Premchai, the president of Italian-Thai Development Plc, was found in unlicensed possession of three rifles and one muzzle-loading long gun at his residence in Bangkok’s Huai Kwang district on Feb 7, 2018. He confessed to the charges.

On Aug 20 last year, the Criminal Court sentenced the construction tycoon to one year in jail. As he confessed to the charges, the jail term was commuted to six months in jail. The court refused to suspend the sentence after learning that the defendant was given a prison in two other cases  - by the Thong Pha Phum Court in Kanchanaburi and the Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases Region 7.

He was later released on bail of 200,000 baht pending appeal for a lighter sentence or suspension of sentence.

Mr Premchai, now aged 66, arrived at the Criminal Court on Tuesday to hear the ruling by the Appeal Court.

The court found that his contention the guns found at his house were a family inheritance contradicted his confessions and that he had failed to mention it before the lower court.

On his request for suspension of his jail term, the Appeal Court found that he had possessed firearms and some had been used for hunting. If those weapons had been used to commit a crime or in breach of the  laws on hunting animals, it was a serious offence.

On the defendant’s claim that he was seriously ill, the court said there were hospitals at the Corrections Department’s prisons where doctors would provide treatment.  In the event he was seriously ill, prison officials would send him to another hospital outside the prison.

The court then ruled to uphold the lower court’s sentence of six months in prison without suspension.

After hearing the judgement, his lawyers offered another 300,000 baht as security, in addition to the 200,000 baht earlier put as bail surety, for his temporary release pending an appeal to the Supreme Court.

 The Supreme Court later granted the bail application.

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