Senior cop jailed in Thai Rak Thai court bribe case

Senior cop jailed in Thai Rak Thai court bribe case

Charnchai Netirathakan surrenders at the Royal Thai Police head office in Bangkok in August 2007 to answer the charge of attempted bribery. (Bangkok Post file photo)
Charnchai Netirathakan surrenders at the Royal Thai Police head office in Bangkok in August 2007 to answer the charge of attempted bribery. (Bangkok Post file photo)

The Supreme Court on Friday confirmed the two year prison sentence given a police colonel for attempting to bribe a Constitutional Court judge with an offer of 30 million baht during the Thai Rak Thai party dissolution case in 2006.

The court did not suspend the sentence and Pol Col Charnchai Netirathakan was immediately taken to Klong Prem Central Prison in Chatuchak district.

The ruling was read at the Criminal Court on Ratchadaphisek Road on Friday morning.

Charnchai, now 75, is a former chief of Pho Kaeo police station in Samphran district of Nakhon Pathom.

He was charged on Sept 25, 2013.

The court was told that during meetings with Constitutional Court judge ML Krairirk Kasemsant in the judge's office at the Supreme Court between Oct 16 and Oct 22, 2006, Charnchai offered a 30 million baht bribe in exchange for a favour in the party dissolution case.

Charnchai denied the charge, saying he was a former classmate of ML Krairirk and met him to pass on an invitation to a class reunion.The offer of a bribe was only a friend-to-friend joke with ML Krairirk.

In December 2014, the Criminal Court convicted and sentenced Charnchai to three years in prison without suspension. He took the case to the Appeal Court, which ruled in February last year that Charnchai also said he owed a favour to a Khunying Or and sought a 5% share of the bribe if it was accepted.

"Or" is the nickname of Khunying Potjaman Na Pombejra, now the ex-wife of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, the Thai Rak Thai founder.

The Appeal Court reduced the jail sentence from three to two years, because Charnchai confessed to facts during his trial, without suspension.

Charnchai appealed to the Supreme Court, and was released on bail of 300,000 baht during the appeal process.

The Supreme Court upheld the sentence and rejected the defendant’s request for suspension of sentence on grounds of age and suffering hypertension. The court said Charnchai was a senior police officer and had committed a serious crime that would have affected justice and discredited the judiciary.

The Constitutional Court on May 30, 2007 dissolved the Thai Rak Thai party for hiring small and lesser known political parties to run candidates against it in several constituencies during the April 2, 2006 election, and paying for false membership registration of the small political parties to enable their candidates to run.

Without a rival, Thai Rak Thai candidates were required by law to get the support of at least 20% of the ballots of all eligible voters in a constituency to win a seat.

Opposition parties boycotted the general election, claiming the Thai Rak Thai-led government had wrongly dissolved the House and rushed the polls to their disadvantage.


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