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Lawyers Council dumps member for allegedly cheating client

Jul 06. 2017
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By The Nation

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The Lawyers Council of Thailand yesterday stripped Pisit Sammalert’s name from its list of qualified practitioners for allegedly cheating a road-accident victim out of due compensation.

Council vice president Major Sombat Wongkamhaeng, who also chairs the Thai Bar’s committee on legal aid, said the name of the 59-year-old Pisit was struck from the list because he had been declared insolvent in 2004. 

After the registrar and Pisit are notified of the council’s resolution, Pisit will no longer be able to present himself as a lawyer or face punishment under the Lawyer Act, Sombat said. A friend of Pisit had contacted the council to say that Pisit would soon explain himself at a later unspecified date, he added.

Council representatives accompanied Porntip Chantharat and her wheelchair-bound daughter Pattarada “Beam” Kaewpong to a Bangkok court yesterday to file a civil lawsuit against Pisit for allegedly cheating them out of compensation following a 2005 road accident. A truck crashed into a pickup carrying Porntip’s family, leaving her husband dead and both her and Pattarada seriously injured. 

Spinal injuries sustained in the accident forced Pattarada to use a wheelchair. 

In 2014, a court ordered the truck’s owner to pay the family Bt4 million in compensation. But Porntip alleges that Pisit, their lawyer, persuaded her to sign papers authorising him to handle all related matters, including collecting her monthly compensation payments, as a convenience to her. She ended up receiving just over Bt200,000. 

She lodged a complaint against the lawyer in 2015, but said he persuaded her to withdraw it by promising to give her Bt3 million, a promise he allegedly has not kept.

Meanwhile, adviser to the national police chief, Pol General Weerachai Songmetta, joined with the Criminal Reporters and Photographers Association of Thailand and the Factory Police Association to present Bt200,000 cash to Pattarada for her scholarship and expenses in her court battle. The girl thanked Weerachai and the two associations for their help and said she wanted to become a news reporter so she could help others.

 

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