OAG probes mishandling of 'Boss' hit-and-run
The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) has launched disciplinary probes against public prosecutors who were involved in the 2012 hit-and-run case involved the Red Bull scion, Vorayuth "Boss" Yoovidhya, the media was told on Monday.
The announcement was made by Pol Lt Col Wannop Somjintanakul, secretary-general of the Office of Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC).
The OAG is the latest agency to start a formal investigation into the mishandling of the case by its staff members that ultimately led to the dropping of all criminal charges against Mr Vorayuth.
Apart from the OAG, four other agencies have also launched their own probes into the actions of their officials in the controversial case -- namely the Department of Special Investigation (DSI), the Royal Thai Police (RTP), the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) and the Lawyers' Council of Thailand.
PACC was appointed by the government to oversee disciplinary probes launched by several agencies whose employees and/or representatives are suspected to have obstructed the justice process against the Red Bull scion.
While Pol Lt Col Wannop stopped short of spelling out the deadline for its probe, according to the OAG's own rules, an investigation has to be completed within three months -- with a one- or two-month extension possible depending on the nature of the case.
The pursuit of justice for the fatal hit-and-run which claimed the life of police officer Wichian Klanprasert resumed earlier this month, after the OAG decided to indict Mr Vorayuth on two charges -- reckless driving causing death and cocaine use -- citing fresh evidence and new witnesses.
Previously, the OAG -- specifically, Deputy Attorney-General Nate Naksuk and Ittiporn Kaewthip, deputy director-general of the Department of Criminal Litigation -- had decided to drop the reckless driving charge against Mr Vorayuth, a move which immediately sparked public outrage.
Following that, a fact-finding panel was established, headed by former graftbuster Vicha Mahakun. The panel's report recommended Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to revive the case, as it found evidence of intervention by government officials, law enforcement agencies, public prosecutors, as well as lawyers and witnesses.
The panel also recommended an ethics probe into the delay and intentional derailment of the justice process against the wealthy energy drink heir.