Pornthip on probation for 2003 Hangthong 'murder' opinion

Pornthip on probation for 2003 Hangthong 'murder' opinion

Gregoire Verrier, left, and John McWilliams, right, show Khunying Pornthip Rojanasunan how to use a forensic light source to detect biological evidence -- such as blood, hair or semen -- on a shirt belonging to the late MP Hangthong Thammawattana in this 2003 file photo. Her ruling in that case would lead to her being placed on probation in 2013. (Bangkok Post file photo)
Gregoire Verrier, left, and John McWilliams, right, show Khunying Pornthip Rojanasunan how to use a forensic light source to detect biological evidence -- such as blood, hair or semen -- on a shirt belonging to the late MP Hangthong Thammawattana in this 2003 file photo. Her ruling in that case would lead to her being placed on probation in 2013. (Bangkok Post file photo)

Khunying Pornthip Rojanasunan, director of the Central Institute of Forensic Science, has been on probation from the Medical Council for nearly two years for suggesting a former Bangkok MP for the Prachakorn Thai Party was murdered, it was revealed Tuesday.

Noppadol Thammwattana, the brother of the late Hangthong Thammawattana, disclosed the 2013 decision to suspend Khunying Pornthip on Tuesday.

For years, Mr Noppadol has said his brother killed himself, but other siblings believed Hangthong was murdered due to longstanding conflicts over a 10-billion-baht inheritance.

Hangthong was found dead with a .38 pistol near his hand in Mr Noppadol's bedroom at the family mansion in Bang Khen on Sept 6, 1999. He suffered a fatal gunshot to the head.

In an initial autopsy, police ruled that Hangthong had committed suicide. But in a second post-mortem in 2003, Khunying Pornthip, then deputy director of the CIFS, suggested that it was homicide.

Khunying Porntip's suggestion led to Mr Noppadol being identified as a prime suspect. Mr Noppadol was arraigned at the Criminal Court and charged with conspiracy to murder Hangthong in late 2003.

Although a third autopsy, carried out by experts from the Forensic Association of Thailand at the request of Mr Noppadol, found Hangthong had indeed killed himself, Mr Noppadol was still indicted on murder charges in January 2004.

The Criminal Court eventually dismissed the case for lack of evidence. The Appeal Court upheld that decision.

Mr Noppadol filed a lawsuit against Khunying Pornthip for perjury, causing him damage. The Criminal Court and the Appeal Court dismissed the case. It now awaits action at the Supreme Court.

Apart from the perjury lawsuit, Mr Noppadol in 2006 also filed a petition against Khunying Pornthip with the Medical Council for breach of professional ethics.

The council in 2013 decided to punish Khunying Pornthip by putting her on probation. But Mr Noppadol said he only received the Medical Council's ruling on July 9, which he claimed was unfair.

He went to the Criminal Court on Tuesday to submit the Medical Council's ruling to the Supreme Court, which is still considering the perjury case. Mr Noppadol said he was also considering filing a petition against Khunying Pornthip with the Administrative Court.

Khunying Pornthip, in responding to the Medical Council's ruling, said she had submitted a request for the council to give her details of its decision. She said the body had never allowed her to explain.

Since no appeal of a Medical Council ruling is possible, she would ask the Administrative Court to order the council to review its order.

The CIFS director said, however, that the council's ruling would have no effects on her mandatory retirement at the end of September.


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