Red Bull case prosecutor Nate discharged from civil service

Red Bull case prosecutor Nate discharged from civil service

Commission finds he lacked discretion in dropping charge

Nate Naksuk, former deputy attorney general, has been ordered discharged from the civil service over his decision to drop charges against the Red Bull scion  Vorayuth Yoovidhya in the infamous 2012 hit-and-run case. (Bangkok Post file photo)
Nate Naksuk, former deputy attorney general, has been ordered discharged from the civil service over his decision to drop charges against the Red Bull scion Vorayuth Yoovidhya in the infamous 2012 hit-and-run case. (Bangkok Post file photo)

The Public Prosecutors Commission (PPC) has voted unanimously to discharge Nate Naksuk, a former deputy attorney general, from the civil service over his controversial decision to drop charges against the Red Bull scion in the infamous 2012 hit-and-run case.

Former attorney-general Pachara Yuttidhammadamrong, who chaired the PPC meeting on Wednesday, said the PPC comprised 14 members. One was absent during the meeting.

Six of the commissioners had been appointed to a panel to look into disciplinary charges brought against Mr Nate. The meeting agreed the six should abstain from voting, said Mr Pachara. 

The remaining eight members, including Mr Pachara, agreed unanimously that Mr Nate lacked discretion and prudence in considering crucial facts and evidence in the case and in paying no attention to all the probe reports, causing serious damage to the state.

It was deemed to be an offence causing damage to the state under the 2010 Public Prosecutors Act.

The accused committed a serious disciplinary offence. Therefore, it was appropriate to punish him with heavier penalties. However, the investigation did not have any evidence that Mr Nate was corrupt and therefore he should not face expulsion from government service.

The PPC meeting initially agreed that Mr Nate should be dismissed. However, his government service record showed that he had never been punished for a disciplinary violation before. This was his first breach of discipline. Over a period of more than 40 years in service he had made good contributions to the state. There was a reason to reduce the penalty, said Mr Pachara.

All eight PPC members resolved that Mr Nate be discharged from the service, in line with Sections 85 and 87 of the the 2010 Public Prosecutors Act, the PPC chairman said.

The PPC’s decision was considered final for disciplinary violation proceedings, he said. If Mr Nate disagreed, he had the right to petition the Administrative Court.

The order for Mr Nate's discharge took effect on the date his resignation was approved, the PPC chairman said. He did not give the date. Mr Nate will still receive his pension and other welfare benefits after being discharged from the service, as against being sacked.

In August 2020, Mr Nate tendered his resignation. On Feb 3 this year, the former deputy attorney-general applied to be a member of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) at the Secretariat of the Senate.

On the issue of criminal action, Mr Pachara said the Office of the Attorney-General (OAG) would not take action against Mr Nate. Other agencies might take such action, he added.

Mr Nate, 67, faced the disciplinary probe for his decision to drop a charge of reckless driving causing death against Red Bull scion Vorayuth Yoovidhya over a hit-run back in 2012, in which a police officer was killed.

The OAG also set up a panel to look into serious disciplinary violations against former senior prosecutor Chainarong Saengthong-aram, who was accused of changing the speed Mr Vorayuth’s Ferrari was going  at the time of the crash. 

Answering a reporter’s question, whether the decision to discharge Mr Nate from the office, rather than  dismissing him from the service, could be seen as helping him, Mr Pachara disagreed.

Among prosecutors, it was known that Mr Nate should not have lacked discretion. However, it could not be shown there was any corruption involved in Mr Nate’s decision to drop the charge.

Mr Pachara said Mr Nate had a clean record, but for that single indiscretion. Whatever the reason, it was considered a lack of due discretion.

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