Senator Calls For Independent Committee Review of Decision to Drop Charges

Red Bull Heir

A senator is calling for a national independent committee to review the hit-and-run case involving Red Bull heir Vorayuth “Boss” Yoovidhya, who is in the clear after public prosecutors decided to drop all charges against him.

Half the committee members must be experts who don’t come from the Office of the Attorney-General (OAG) or the Royal Thai Police, Senator Kamnoon Sidhisamarn announced on Facebook on Tuesday. He also said the chairman must be from outside the two agencies.

Senator Sidhisamarn suggested that the panel be appointed as an official state body under the Criminal Code, with the power to access all documents and investigation reports and summons all involved to testify.

The committee must be empowered to investigate and give recommendations on ways to improve the criminal investigation procedure before cases are taken to court, Senator Sidhisamarn said.

The panel should be given 15 days to present an initial report on the case.

He said the prime minister must issue an order to specify the panel’s role, its scope of authority and a time frame to do its work.

“Thais have got fed up with the system of committees, particularly those from the same agency investigating each other,” Senator Sidhisamarn said.

He also urged the PM to quickly table a new bill governing the Royal Thai Police for deliberation by a joint session of the House and the Senate.

Meanwhile, the OAG says a panel of public prosecutors will finish their review of the decision not to arraign Mr Yoovidhya within seven days.

Prayuth Petchkhun, the deputy spokesman of the OAG, said on Tuesday that Deputy Attorney-General Somsak Tiyawanit would be heading the panel and he would ensure it reached its decision in the time indicated.

The committee has requested the written decision of the OAG’s Southern Bangkok Criminal Litigation Department that decided not to arraign Mr Yoovidhya on the charge of reckless driving causing death in 2012.

The committee would decide if the decision was legal and complied with OAG regulations, Mr Petchkhun said, and it would also look into the reasons behind the decision.

He refused to confirm if the panel would look into the credibility of two new witnesses, who told police that Mr Yoovidhya had not exceeded the speed limit. He also declined to say if the panel might consider recommending a fresh investigation on whether to proceed with the charge of reckless driving causing death.

The panel had just started work and it was too soon to answer such questions, Mr Petchkhun said. However, he did say that prosecutors could revise their decision on whether to proceed with charges in the light of being presented with new evidence or witnesses. Besides, damaged parties in the case still had their right to press charges.

The Southern Bangkok Criminal Litigation Department decided last month to drop the charge that Mr Yoovidhya, now 35, drove in a reckless manner that killed a Thong Lor policeman, Pol Snr Sgt Maj Wichian Klanprasert, 47, on 3rd September 2012. The Royal Thai Police later agreed with the decision.


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