THE APPEALS Court has upheld the acquittal of Pol Lt-General Somkid Boonthanom and four other police charged with murdering Saudi businessman Mohamamad al-Ruwaily, a key figure in the high-profile royal jewellery heist case.
The court said the evidence was not conclusive enough that Somkid and the others were responsible for the Saudi businessman’s disappearance in connection with the theft of Saudi royal jewellery more than 20 years ago.
Al-Ruwaily disappeared in Thailand and his body was never recovered,
Anek Kamchum, the attorney for Al-Ruwaily’s mother, said she would appeal to the Supreme Court.
The Saudi businessman was a close friend of Bangkok-based Saudi diplomats assigned to help recover the royal jewellery stolen in Saudi Arabia by a Thai house worker.
In February 1990, Somkid and his team were assigned to investigate murder cases concerning the Saudi diplomats in Thailand, but the prosecutors alleged that al-Ruwaily was killed because he was understood to be responsible for the deaths of the Saudi diplomats due to a conflict involving the sending of Thai workers to Saudi Arabia.
The Somkid team was accused of taking al-Ruwaily to a Bangkok hotel with the intent to kill him and later destroy his body in Chon Buri.
Prosecutors also claimed that al-Ruwaily’s ring was found and served as an evidence in this murder case.
On March 31, 2014, the lower court found all defendants not guilty, citing the benefit of the doubt, as the prosecutors did not bring prime witness Pol Lt-Col Suwichai Kaewpaluek, who had found the ring, to the court.
Suwichai testified to the Appeals Court that he had met al-Ruwaily at the Bangkok hotel and later found his ring, but the court, citing a technicality, ruled that the ring was mentioned in the original court papers so it could not be entered as new evidence.
The court also decided that al-Ruwaily’s mother could not be regarded as a co-plaintiff yet due to the lack of conclusive evidence that the Saudi businessman is already dead.
However, Anek said the legal team will study the latest verdict and see if the case could go to the Supreme Court.