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Over 10 civilians to face charges in Jomsap case

Dec 20. 2017
File photo: Jomsap Saenmuangkhot
File photo: Jomsap Saenmuangkhot
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By SIVA LOHO
THE NATION

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Justice officials spared as controversial perjury investigation draws to an end.

POLICE ARE planning to file charges against more than 10 suspects, all of them civilians, for their role in hit-and-run convict Jomsap Saenmuangkhot’s alleged plot to exonerate herself by hiring a scapegoat.

Provincial Police Region 4 deputy commissioner Pol Maj-General Tanasak Rittidejpaiboon said yesterday the investigation report on the case was already completed. 

“We will forward it to public prosecutors within the next one or two days,” he said. 

He confirmed that more than 10 suspects would face legal action, as evidence suggested they had violated the law in supporting Jomsap’s alleged plot. 

In 2013, the Supreme Court convicted Jomsap of fatally hitting an elderly cyclist with her pickup and fleeing the scene. She was sentenced to jail. 

Although she was later released early on a royal pardon, she had since tried to overturn the conviction. 

She also publicly insisted that she was innocent. Her claim gained credibility after a man named Sap Wapi claimed he – not Jomsap – was responsible for the fatal accident. 

Jomsap also received a great deal of help from the Justice Ministry, which facilitated her efforts to seek a retrial. 

But last month, the Supreme Court not only rejected Jomsap’s request for a retrial but also pointed to an alleged conspiracy to hire a scapegoat to claim responsibility for the accident for which Jomsap was convicted.

Police have since promised to identify everyone involved in perjury in the case. 

While police initially suggested that some Justice Ministry’s officials might have been implicated, Tanasak made it clear yesterday that no official was targeted as a suspect in the investigation report. 

Nakhon Phanom’s police chief Pol Maj-General Suwicharn Yankittikul said Jomsap, her close friend Suriya Nuancharoen, her husband Nirun Saenmuangkhot, Sap and her witness Tassanee Harnpayak were among those facing charges. 

Tassanee witnessed the accident but changed her statement back and forth several times, according to police and the Supreme Court. 

Suwicharn also disclosed that a lawyer with the initial “T” would be charged, because he was aware of the plot to hire the scapegoat. 

In a related development, Wallop Nakbua, who heads the Office of Justice Affairs and the investigation into justice officials’ role in Jomsap’s case, said the probe showed officials involved in Jomsap’s case focused on forensically-proved evidence – not witnesses – after finding that Sap and Suriya failed lie-detector tests. 

“These officials just tried to facilitate the judicial process,” he said. 

He added that the Justice Ministry had not provided lawyers for Jomsap as she tried to seek a retrial. 

“But as a Thai, she has exercised her right to request and receive help for lawyers’ fees and court fees from the Rights and Liberties Protection Department,” Wallop said. 

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