By The Nation
The court found Watana Phummaret, 62, a former Electricity Generation Authority of Thailand employee, guilty of the premeditated bomb attack at the hospital that injured 21 people, most of them retired military officers, and caused damage worth more than Bt1 million.
The court said there was strong evidence that Watana had assembled a pipe bomb and put it inside a vase in front of a pharmacy in the Chalerm Phrakiart building on May 22. He then detonated it with a timer.
The court convicted him on three counts of launching an attack that injured others, assembling a bomb and possessing a weapon without a licence.
He was initially given a life sentence for the attack, three years for assembling the bomb and one year for possessing it. Since he pleaded guilty and confessed, the court commuted the life sentence to 26 years and the sentences on the two other counts to a cumulative 12 months.
The jail term will begin after he completes a four-year term he was given on September 13 in another case, which saw him found guilty of possessing explosives at his house.
Watana, who was arrested on June 20, did not comment on the guilty verdict yesterday.
There are five more bombing cases pending against him.
The first case relates to a blast in front of the Royal Thai Army headquarters in September 2007, which seriously injured two policemen.
In the second case, a bomb exploded on May 5, 2007 on Soi Rajavithi, injuring one victim.
The third case relates to a bomb that was detonated in April this year on Rajdamnoen Klang Avenue. It hurt three victims.
In the fourth case, an explosion occurred in May this year in front of the National Theatre, in which two people were slightly hurt.
Watana has admitted his role in those four bomb attacks and trials are expected soon.
The fifth case involves a bomb that exploded on April 9, 2007 in front of the Major Ratchayothin cinema. Public prosecutors have not yet decided whether to arraign Watana in this case.