The unsolved case of the fugitive Red Bull scion
Before moving on to the new year, we look back at five prominent legal cases in the past 12 months. By King-oua Laohong
published : 27 Dec 2020 at 06:00
newspaper section: News
Red Bull scion Vorayuth "Boss" Yoovidhya hit-and-run case in 2012 became the talk of the town once again this year after news broke that all of his charges would be dropped.
Mr Vorayuth had postponed attending his court hearing more than five times before fleeing abroad on his private jet.
While overseas, his speeding charge was dropped after its one-year statute of limitations expired in 2013. A second charge -- failing to stop to help a crash victim -- expired on Sept 3, 2017.
The most serious of the charges -- reckless driving that causes death -- would have remained valid until 2027, but it was dropped by state prosecutors, a move that effectively acquitted Mr Vorayuth.
As a result, all local and international arrest warrants were revoked.
The story was reported by CNN and Reuters on July 24, saying a police panel looking into the Red Bull scion's case had no objection over the decision to have the last charge dropped.
News of about the case sparked public outrage, prompting Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to order a panel led by former graft buster Vicha Mahakun to probe the decision to drop the reckless driving charge.
After looking into the case for about a month, the panel said police tied to the case produced a flawed report which led public prosecutors to not indict Mr Vorayuth with reckless driving that causes death.
The findings were submitted to the Office of Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission so it could identify officials involved in the alleged mishandling of Mr Vorayuth's case.
Mr Vicha also made recommendations for a revamp of the justice system.
Nate Naksuk, the deputy attorney-general who signed the decision to drop Mr Vorayuth's case, was going to tender his resignation, and the Public Prosecutor Commission decided not to set up a panel to probe Mr Nate's move.
Crucial evidence was found during an investigation into Mr Vorayuth's case.
In September, a prosecutor wanted to charge him with reckless driving that causes death, which would be valid until 2027, and cocaine consumption, which would be valid until 2022.
However, public prosecutors earlier this month insisted they cannot proceed with the cocaine charge.
They said they were duty-bound to wait until police arrested the Red Bull scion and brought him to trial.