The Criminal Court on Tuesday sentenced a senior official of the National Anti-Corruption Commission to one year in jail, suspended for two years, and a fine of 31,000 baht for using a pistol to threaten a taxi driver in Bangkok in 2018.
The incident occurred inside the grounds of the government complex on Chaeng Wattana Road, in Bangkok's Laksi district, on Oct 10.
The taxi's dashboard camera recording showed Mr Piset getting out of his black Honda car, which had stopped in front of the cab, and pointing his pistol at the cabbie.
Piset Nakapan, 54-year-old assistant secretary-general of the NACC, was charged with coercion by using a weapon in violation of Section 309 of the Criminal Code, carrying a weapon in public, threatening others, and violating the Firearms Act.
The court heard evidence that Piset pointed a loaded .38 Colt pistol at taxi driver Pipat Seesa-on on Oct 10, 2018.
Mr Piset asked the taxi driver, “Why are you following me,’’ and said, "Drive back and use another road.’’
This was seen as forcing a person to submit by threatening that person’s life with the use of a weapon, the court said.
During police interrogation the defendant had confessed to the charges.
Mr Piset as released on bail during the proceedings and was at the court with his lawyer to hear judgement.
The defendant admitted to having the gun in his possession, saying it was for self-defence because as he handled interrogations at this office, and this might pose a danger.
On the day of the incident, Mr Piset said he drove his car to an intersection within the government complex grounds. The cabbie, Mr Pipat, had stopped his vehicle behind him and honked his horn.
Mr Piset said he got out of his vehicle to ask the taxi driver why he followed him.
During the trial, the taxi driver showed up at the court. Mr Piset apologised to him. Mr Pipat did not seek compensation. Mr Piset gave him 2,000 baht and confessed to the charges.
The court in its rullng said the defendant had not been previously indicted for any offence and had to take care of his parents. He served as a high-ranking government official who contributed to the country.
The court handed down a two-year jail sentence and a fine of 62,000 baht. The sentence was commuted by half because he confessed, to one year in jail and a fine of 31,000 baht.
The court suspended his prison term for two years and ordered him to report to probation officials every four months.